Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea team suffered their first loss since taking control at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Despite West Ham going down to 10 men, the Blues suffered a discouraging 3-1 loss away at them in the Premier League.
Penalties were a significant factor in how the game turned out. Enzo Fernandez missed his attempt, but Lucas Paqueta’s penalty shot ensured that all three points were scored.
In the meantime, Moises Caicedo’s eagerly awaited debut fell through as he struggled for the Blues after coming off the bench, notably conceding the late penalty.
Overall, Chelsea had some strong moments but was unable to overcome a Hammers team that effectively shut down after losing Nayef Aguerd to a second yellow.
One of the best Blues players that day was Raheem Sterling. He has the same appearance as the old Sterling, who could terrorize defenses with his speed and cunning.
He was quite forthright and eager to get things done, charging at opponents and generally showing off his aggression.
“Bold and dedicated”
Pochettino waxed lyrical about Sterling in his post-game remarks, adding that both he and his coaches “trust him” and that he has been living up to expectations.
The £47.5 million man was “not delighted” with the way Sunday’s events played out for the team, the Chelsea manager also confessed.
Pochettino was asked by Football.london if he thought Sterling had improved since taking over at the Bridge.
Yes, I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, the Argentine said in response.
“We spoke to him frequently this week in my office, and we believe in him.
He is a player who can perform as expected, and today he was outstanding.
We certainly aren’t happy, and neither is he, because he gave a great performance, but we lost.
But that is how we anticipate a player to perform, by being courageous and devoted to the squad.
In our opinion
Sterling’s performance actually portends well for the future, even though Pochettino still has a lot of work to do as evidenced by Sunday’s performance.
He resembles the Sterling of yesteryear, the Liverpool player who often terrorized defenses with his quickness and flair.
It’s encouraging to see him playing this way, and it will be interesting to watch how he performs moving forward under Poch.