If Chelsea’s EFL Cup match last night was the biggest game of the season thus far, Mauricio Pochettino’s remarks were accurate, but it was not evident in the performance of the players.
At the Riverside, they were defeated 1-0 by Middlesbrough in the first leg of the semi-final. The match followed a pattern that fans have witnessed frequently this season.
Maybe because of this, they were even more eager than normal to express their opinions about the performance to the fans.
In an attempt to defuse the tension, Thiago Silva and several other players approached, but it was obvious that they were frustrated.
The manager’s choice to start Cole Palmer in a false nine rather than a recognized striker may have infuriated them the most.
However, the experiment backfired, and the 21-year-old produced his first truly subpar performance since joining the team.
Broja needs to start straight away
With what he witnessed last night, Armando Broja’s lack of playing time while Nicolas Jackson is out of the lineup is now completely inexcusable.
The Senegal international has occasionally received criticism, but it’s possible that he won’t be acknowledged until he leaves.
But Broja, who scored a goal in the FA Cup this past weekend, has had trouble logging consistent playing time since his injury return.
It would be incredibly unfair to be too critical of the 22-year-old and his performance on the pitch unless he commits to regular minutes.
With a Premier League match against Fulham and the now-important second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough coming up, Broja may force Chelsea to reconsider their transfer strategy.