Main Reason Pochettino was furious with Nicolas Jackson as impressive Cucurella compliment Mudryk

Reason Mauricio Pochettino was furious with Nicolas Jackson as impressive Cucurella compliment Mudryk

They never do it the simple way, do they? Yes, Chelsea played out another thrilling contest on Monday night as they squeezed past Newcastle United 3-2 thanks to a courageous display from the Blues in front of a Stamford Bridge crowd fearing the worst pre-match.

A breathless encounter in SW6 that amassed 23 shots in total, with Chelsea having 12 of those, while Newcastle had the majority of the ball in their opponent’s back yard. Either way, this game threatened to be really toxic, but fortunately it was not from Chelsea’s point of view.

Nine days on from the draw – that very much felt like a defeat, to Mauricio Pochettino’s admittance – away at Brentford, there had to be a show put on for these fans. If Newcastle had scored the first at the Bridge, the atmosphere could have turned really toxic, as it did in the away section of the Gtech Community Stadium earlier in the month.

Fortunately, though, Chelsea showed a real maturity against Newcastle – something Pochettino has been crying out for since arriving in west London. Although he does acknowledge that maturity cannot develop overnight. Instead it is something that comes hand-in-hand with experience, so patience is required.

It was great to see from Chelsea, though, and that was epitomised late in the game when Enzo Fernandez, usually one of the silkiest, most technically gifted players on any pitch, hoofed the ball out for a throw-in instead of trying to play out from the back. Chelsea were under the cosh, so Enzo took no chances. Its old-school-ness was precisely what was required at that specific moment for the Blues.

That was one moment that stood out in the five-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge. And, with that said, Bobby Vincent brings you another couple of moments from the game that you might have missed on the night.

Cucurella pays Mudryk ultimate compliment

Marc Cucurella returned for Chelsea on Monday. The Spaniard had been sidelined with a serious ankle injury for around three months but was brought into the lineup because of injuries to Levi Colwill and Ben Chilwell last week.

Cucurella was really impressive considering the circumstances. The former Brighton left-back got stuck in, as he usually does, but was calm and composed in possession, allowing Chelsea to get out of some pretty sticky situations in the 90 minutes.

He is a very passionate guy, that much is clear. And it was great to see him elated when Mykhailo Mudryk, on as a second-half substitute, scored a stunning goal to all but seal the victory for the hosts at the Bridge.

After taking the ball from the feet of his teammate Conor Gallagher, Mudryk nutmegged Fabian Schar before running into the box, rounding goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and slotting it into an empty net. It was a fabulous moment for Chelsea and for Mudryk on a personal level, who continues to be Newcastle’s menace after scoring a late, late equaliser against the same opposition in the Carabao Cup quarter-final towards the end of 2023 to send the Blues into the last four of the competition.

After getting past Schar, there was still so much work for Mudryk to do, but from one camera angle you can spot Cucurella far in the background lifting his arms in celebration before his teammate had even scored. Thankfully for Chelsea supporters, Mudryk made the rest look easy but Cucurella seemed to already know it was a goal.

Pochettino fumes with Jackson

Pochettino’s side have struggled to show control at times when they are leading this season. Once again, it comes down to maturity and experience. And Chelsea do not seem to have much of either, despite signs of the former on the pitch against Newcastle.

When it was 3-1 to Chelsea late on, the game was not done. And Jacob Murphy’s thunderbolt in stoppage time proved just that, as the visitors looked for a late, late leveller to ruin Chelsea’s evening.

While Chelsea had the two-goal cushion at Stamford Bridge, thanks to Mudryk’s brilliance, there were plenty of counter-attacking opportunities for the hosts. At one point, there looked to be an opportunity for Mudryk to unleash his ridiculously quick legs in behind the visitors’ defence. It just needed the right ball.

The ball fell to the head of Nicolas Jackson, who opened the scoring for Chelsea on the evening, and the Senegal striker tried guiding it into Mudryk’s path. But in truth, the header was quite poor and it was easy to deal with from the Magpies’ perspective.

Pochettino lost his temper at this point. The Argentine jumped up and down in frustration after what he witnessed from his striker, before frantically turning to assistant Jesus Perez on the bench and then doing another 180-degrees turn to shout at his players.

Fortunately, it did not prove decisive. Jackson actually performed really well throughout the 90 minutes, where he bagged his third goal in as many matches in all competitions.

“Yes, of course [he is improving],” Pochettino said on Jackson at full-time. “Of course, we need to understand the player when they are young and arrive from out of England, they need to know first the Premier League. They also need to know their teammates to perform. But he is performing really well.

“The effort is always there, how he presses, the work-rate is massive. Of course, he has the quality. With more games, with experience, he is going to be more calm in front of the goal and he is doing to be more clinical.

“We think he has the capacity but we need to keep believing that he can be the player, the striker, the offensive player that can score Chelsea too many goals. A lot of goals.”

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