Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that he has spoken to Nicolas Jackson about the bookings he has picked up so far this season, as well as explaining why he sees Conor Gallagher as a natural choice to captain Chelsea.
Nicolas Jackson has received four yellow cards in his first five Premier League appearances since joining Chelsea from Villarreal over the summer, leaving him at risk of receiving an early suspension, as he will be ruled out for one match if he receives a further booking before the 19th round of fixtures on Boxing Day.
The majority of the striker’s four yellow cards so far have been issued for complaining to the officials, following the introduction of stricter rules this season, designed to crack down on dissent. With that in mind, Mauricio Pochettino confirmed that he has spoken to Jackson about the issue, advising him to be smarter when it comes to on-the-pitch discipline.
‘We were talking about it today because we were in a meeting with him and Enzo,’ said Pochettino. ‘I told him for a striker to get four yellow cards only for protesting or talking to the referee, it’s so easy, so cheap, getting yellow cards like that. Sometimes you need to get a yellow card in different actions, but not because of that.
‘If it keeps happening and he gets suspended he is going to put the team in a very difficult situation. He needs to be clever and not to protest to the referees in this way, but he understood. Jackson is 21 also and he’s young. He needs to learn, needs to improve, needs to settle himself.
‘I think he’s going to be a fantastic player but he needs time. Always we forget that we are talking about young players. Of course you can blame me and talk about tactics, but they need time to settle. For me it’s no doubt that we have amazing talent on the team, but now they need time to settle and for sure they are going to start to perform in the way that we expect.’
It was also suggested that Jackson’s bookings could be a result of his frustration at not being able to help the team more with goals, with it being notable that the exception to his run of yellow cards was the match against Luton Town at Stamford Bridge, when he scored his first competitive goal for the club.
While Pochettino did not disagree with that assessment, he also provided further explanations, with the change to the rules for this season and the difference between the way players are allowed to interact with officials in the Premier League and La Liga also contributing in his opinion.
‘Maybe because it’s his normal behaviour on the pitch, it’s a thing he maybe needs to improve. Maybe because this season they changed the rules, or he came from Spain where it’s different. The relationship with the referees here in England changed and now people are more sensitive about it. It’s all about adapting himself and he’s clever so for sure he will adapt.’
Our head coach also discussed Conor Gallagher’s leadership credentials after naming the midfielder as captain in the Premier League for the first time in our last game against Bournemouth, in the absence of regular skipper Reece James, having earlier handed Gallagher the armband for the Carabao Cup win over Wimbledon.
‘It’s not something new, I think he’s supposed to be a captain. It’s good to create a history and it’s nice, but it’s normal if you see the starting XI at Bournemouth, and he was also the captain against Wimbledon. I think it was not that much of a surprise. It’s not a big thing, to have a party about.
‘I think he can be a captain. He’s from Chelsea, he came through the Academy and it’s perfect for him to represent his team-mates.’
Speaking about the team more generally, Pochettino insisted he is not getting frustrated by our failure to turn performances into points in the Premier League during the early stages of the season. Instead, he chose to highlight the reaction he has seen from his players at Cobham this week following last Sunday’s disappointing draw at Bournemouth as one of the reasons he is optimistic moving forward.
‘I am not frustrated because if we talk about performances, I think the team is performing well. We cannot complain about the performance of the team, with different players and missing many key players also from the team.
‘I am not frustrated. I am disappointed because I think many teams with less chances have scored more. That is the feeling, that is why we feel bad. Because the players deserved more and the team deserved more. But the only way to find what we want is to keep pushing, keep playing, keep doing the right things that we are doing, replicate them again and again in every single game.
'I am so happy about the way they felt after Bournemouth and after Nottingham Forest. They really care about the club. They really care about winning games. They really care about performing better. This week was good to work really hard and create a good atmosphere every single day to try to translate to the competition.’
No doubt that attitude will be evident on the pitch when the Blues walk out at the Bridge on Sunday for our next Premier League match against Aston Villa.