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Pochettino: Mykhailo Mudryk needs to improve and start ‘playing for the team’

One year on...

Chelsea v Preston North End - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

There’s no real way to sugarcoat this: Mykhailo Mudryk has been a massive disappointment since his arrival last January.

The basic numbers are terrible — 4 goals, 4 assists, 41 appearances (20 starts) — but it’s the eye test that’s truly concerning. Mudryk simply doesn’t look like he has any idea of how to actually be a top class footballer. He has the physical gifts and the technical tools, but he cannot seem to apply them properly in a match setting — be that on an individual level or as part of a cohesive team. To be fair, Chelsea, as a unit, are often far from cohesive in our current iteration, but Mudryk tends to stick out like a sore thumb even in those instances.

Sure, he’s still young (just turned 23) and everyone adapts to the Premier League at a different pace. Perhaps it’ll all click one day. But until then, the idea of Mudryk remains light years beyond the actual reality of Mudryk.

While he’s been protected by his transfer fee (and contract length) to a certain extent, guaranteeing him more opportunities than his play has warranted, those minutes will have to start getting actually earned, especially as the rest of the team get healthy and fit as well.

Mauricio Pochettino has laid down the public gauntlet for the €100m-man (well, €70+30m).

“It’s about the form during the season — if you keep your form and you are the best during every training session. As coaching staff, we are a meritocracy — we are going to play with the players who are going to do their best on the pitch.

“I think he’s a young guy that arrived here one year ago. We know the circumstances around [the transfer]. Of course, he needs to improve. He has amazing quality and potential, but it’s a [team] game, it’s not tennis. We have players that need to perform in a group. If you see him, it’s amazing, but after, you need to adapt and play for the team — he needs to adapt, and all of that needs time.”

-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Evening Standard

It’s up to you then, Misha.

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