Mauricio Pochettino questions Chelsea squad’s maturity after Sheffield United draw

Mauricio Pochettino suggested his Chelsea squad lack the maturity to compete regularly in the Premier League after they were held 2-2 by Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Chelsea twice led the Premier League’s bottom club thanks to goals in each half from Thiago Silva and Noni Madueke but Oli McBurnie converted from close range in the 93rd minute after Jayden Bogle had earlier beaten Djordje Petrovic at his near post from a tight angle.

The result is a deflating blow for Pochettino’s team after a stirring comeback win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, and after the match the Argentine questioned whether his young squad are equipped to achieve consistency of performance – and added it might take three to five years to build a truly competitive Chelsea team.

“It’s about to compete,” Chelsea’s head coach said. “It’s about to compete. It’s about to compete, and for different reasons, we struggle to compete in these types of games.

“Then it’s about to be competitive and maybe I repeat too much but watching football like us, at 52 years old, you identify really quick if the team is ready to compete or not. Maybe because this group still is not mature enough to compete in every single game every three days.

“These games are tougher in your preparation because maybe you say Sheffield or Burnley is in the relegation zone, but we need to think a little bit. I don’t say that we are disrespectful, but we need to think how we can be different.

“It is a new team with profiles in the squad that we are learning the combinations sometimes, that is why the process to build a team always takes time. It’s not a magic thing.

“When we talk about projects, we are talking about three or five years. Now, even if we are taking good results in the Premier League, or we are in the semi-final of the FA Cup, because we were not in a good position from the beginning. That is affecting (our ability) to be calm and to perform in a different way.

“It is a normal process that has happened. We need to accept, work and try to fix this type of problem. Always when the end of the season arrives, we need to analyse the squad and what we are missing and try to add people with the capacity to provide what we are seeing today, to improve in the next seasons.”


The Briefing: Sheff Utd 2-2 Chelsea – Is Europe possible? Palmer best at No 10?

(George Wood/Getty Images)

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