Well, the Mauricio Pochettino era is officially off and running — keyword: running — with an entertaining and fairly pleasing 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. Not the best result but far from the worst, and with plenty of promise shown.
We didn’t exactly start well and maybe if Mohamed Salah’s goal isn’t ruled (correctly) offside, this goes very differently. Yet by the end of the 90(+13) minutes, it felt like two points dropped, and perhaps Liverpool feeling a bit lucky.
It’s likely to be a theme throughout the season, but this was truly something positive to build on, to learn from, to take confidence and belief out of.
As far as first steps go in a new era, this one was of a decent length and in the right direction.
“The beginning was flat, it was difficult, it was better after 15, 20 minutes. After we started to feel more comfortable on the pitch, I think we started to find our ways to play and find our positions that we working on the training ground. After that I thought the performance was really good.
“I am so pleased with the performance, we deserved to win because we only conceded one shot on target against a team like Liverpool. It’s only the start, only the beginning after six weeks together, I say thank you to all of the staff in all of the areas of the club and the players, they are the principal actors.”
“[...] But I am so pleased because when some difficult moments appeared, the team was there and the crowd was fantastic. It was very good for the team to keep fighting and never giving up. [...] In the second half the team finds very good positions. In the opposite half, it is how we want to dominate games even if we are playing a team like Liverpool.”
There is plenty of room for improvement, and in plenty of areas to do so. It’s not going to happen overnight; it is only going to happen game by game, step by step. One step down, many more to go.
But we are on our way.
“It is only the beginning. It is only the first step. I am so pleased but we are far away from what we expect and want from them. We are going to push every day to take them to every area, every single relationship, individual and collective we need to be better and better and better.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Football.London
Now a week to recover, prepare some more, and solidify the makeup of the squad. And work, work, work.