Pochettino Admits Chelsea Star Was “Upset” With Him But He Claims Hardline Stance Is Justified

Manager Mauricio Pochettino says he has had to lay down some tough ground rules to ensure that players know what it means to play for Chelsea football club.

Noni Madueke has not had a lot of game time since Pochettino’s appointment, and the Blues boss has suggested that he hasn’t met expectations until now:

“I want all the players when they’re not involved [to] go against me. Of course, I like because from there we won the game. He scored the penalty, he got the penalty. We are not a charity, you know? We are a football club and you need to perform. Sometimes we need to be tough. I said we need to show the reality, sometimes put [the player] in front of the mirror and say ‘come on,’ that is not the player that is going to perform.”

“We have an amazing group of players, very nice people but they need to realise that this is about competing for Chelsea, not to compete in another club. It is about to win. It is about to lift trophies. I like [his reaction to being out of the team] because it showed that he was upset with me and was disappointed with me because I didn’t play [him] too much, but also because he’s injured. But I think [Madueke said to himself] ‘Now I’m going to show the coach that he can trust [in me].”

As Pochettino mentions, Madueke scored from the penalty spot against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, clinching a crucial three points.

It is now up to the 21-year-old to build on that positive cameo off the bench when he gets opportunities in the future.

Could Madueke still leave Chelsea in January?

Madueke’s goal against Palace is unlikely to quieten speculation about his future at Stamford Bridge. Some reports are still suggesting that the Blues are open to offers for the England Under 21 international.

However, if he does begin to play more often in upcoming fixtures, the transfer rumours may begin to die down.

Madueke has his work cut out to start games

The winger still has some convincing to do if he wants Pochettino to give him starting opportunities on a regular basis.

With Christopher Nkunku now available for selection, and both Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling also back from suspension, there is no guarantee that Madueke will be named in the eleven when Chelsea take on Luton Town this weekend.

David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.