Pochettino: We need to accept the reality

Following his Chelsea’s red card in a 1-0 Premier League loss to Aston Villa, Mauricio Pochettino believes his team was unfortunate, but recognized the need for greater maturity in his young squad.

Throughout the first hour of the match, Chelsea dominated proceedings. Both goalkeepers, Robert Sanchez and Emiliano Martinez, delivered remarkable saves to maintain parity on the scoresheet.

However, the turning point came with a red card shown to right-back Malo Gusto, prompted by VAR intervention after referee Jarred Gillett initially considered the challenge deserving of only a yellow card.

The Frenchman had cleanly won the ball but caught Lucas Digne with the follow-through. This numerical advantage allowed Aston Villa to seize the lead and maintain it. Following the final whistle, Pochettino initially emphasized the disparity in scoring opportunities created by both teams before and after the sending off.

“First half I think we deserved a little bit more,” said Pochettino. “We had the control of the game. Then in the second half we started on top of them but then with the red card the game changed.

“For 60 minutes with 11 against 11 and then the rest with 10 men it’s two different games. It was a little bit unlucky. How many chances did we have like that one for Aston Villa? We blocked the shot and then the shot comes back and the second one hits the post and goes in.

“For us, how many times were we one-against-one with Emi Martinez. That was a little bit unlucky also, but that happened.

“In this situation we need to accept the reality, but it was a little bit unlucky because of how many chances they created, when you take off the set-pieces. It wasn’t many. With 10 men we were forcing them to go back and we created chances. That is the situation.

“We need to be aware about what is going on but at the same time we need to be calm because the team is creating, the team is alive, the team is fighting in every single action. We cannot say that the players gave up after 70 minutes, they were fighting until the end with one players less. It’s just about working and hopefully we can change the situation as soon as possible.”

The Chelsea head coach refused to point fingers over Malo Gusto’s red card. “It was in front of me but I didn’t see it, so I cannot say it wasn’t a red card. We need to trust the referee and the VAR and we cannot go back and change the decision, we need to accept that.

“It’s the player’s responsibility, we cannot blame the referee or the VAR. In this situation we need to act in a different way.

“I’m not going to blame or say anything against Malo Gusto, because sometimes these situations happen in football, but of course the situation affected the team and the game in a negative way.”

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