something happened before Chelsea game that affected players; says Pochettino

Chelsea boss says ‘something happened’ before Chelsea game that affected players

Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that ‘something happened’ that impacted his Chelsea players shortly before their win over Fulham on Saturday but refused to elaborate on what it was.

The Blues bounced back from their midweek Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Middlesbrough by securing a 1-0 victory over their west London rivals – their third Premier League win in a row.

In a first half of few real chances, the deadlock was broken in stoppage time when Raheem Sterling was brought down inside the box and Cole Palmer stepped up to slot the resulting penalty home.

Chelsea were not particularly convincing in the match, particularly the first 45 minutes, and Fulham had chances to level, though Pochettino has now revealed that his side were affected by something in the build-up to the contest.

Asked at his post-match press conference if he was satisfied with his side’s performance, Pochettino said: ‘Well of course the first half wasn’t the first half that we thought or we planned.

‘Something happened before the game, but I’m not going to explain.

‘But I think that affected the team a little bit [in the first half].

‘But I think we started the second half really, really good. I think we played really good football, for 30 minutes we played really, really well and we should score another goal – or one or two – and kill the game.

‘But when the game is open like this, and you do not kill the game, always in the last few minutes we concede a few actions, set-pieces, wide free-kicks, corners and they have good potential in all these situations.

‘We defended well though and I think it was good for us to suffer a little bit at the end, but I think this type of game helps us grow and builds the confidence in the way that we are working.’

Later asked if he could elaborate on what happened before the game, Pochettino replied: ‘No, no, no, nothing. I think I was… no, nothing. Nothing, nothing, sorry.’

When it was put to him that it was poor form to mention something only to then play coy, the Argentine continued: ‘No, no, it’s nothing big.

‘It’s nothing big, small details sometimes affect the team.

‘You need to know only that something affected the performance, in my opinion, but it’s not important for you [journalists] or for our fans to know. Sorry, sorry.’

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