Energy was the key word in Mauricio Pochettion’s pre-match press conference today, as Chelsea prepared to face Middlesbrough in tomorrow night’s League Cup semifinal, first leg. It’s the away leg, at the Riverside, where Boro gave Aston Villa a hard time in the FA Cup this weekend.
And speaking of hard time, that’s precisely what we had against another Championship side, Preston North End, in our own FA Cup third round matchup, before opening the floodgates in the second half and waltzing to a 4-0 victory.
We probably won’t be able to get away with just 45 minutes of effort this time however — even if this tie is 180 minutes long — so Pochettino’s looking for more of that second-half energy.
“[The message] was the same as half time versus Preston. We need to approach the game in a different way. We need to match their desire and energy. It is a different game as it is 180 minutes. Of course, it’s about to have a different approach. I was disappointed, the players were disappointed at half time.
“Today, we reviewed what we need to improve but not much time to work as our priority is to recover our physical condition to be fresh tomorrow. It is going to be tough. Watching the game against Aston Villa, they lose, but could win the game. It’s a good team with good ideas [...] good players, good coach and it will be tough and no VAR.
“[...] To spend all of the energy tomorrow is the most important. It is not to go there and say ‘okay, we have the second leg after to play, just in case’. Tomorrow is the most important and tomorrow we need to come back with a victory and finish at Stamford Bridge. Most important is to respect the opponent and know it is a good team and it is going to be a really tough game.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Football.London
Pochettino didn’t have any good news regarding our injuries — Christopher Nkunku’s out and Andrey Santos is off to international duty even if we did want to use him — so it will be the same exact squad as it was on Saturday. Most everybody was involved, so hopefully we can rest up and indeed find the energy needed on Tuesday.