Cucurella speak up after Cole Palmer sends clear message over Chelsea sacking Mauricio Pochettino

Cucurella voice out after Cole Palmer sends clear message over Chelsea sacking Mauricio Pochettino

Marc Cucurella has backed Mauricio Pochettino but has accepted Chelsea’s form has not made the squad happy this season.

The Blues are in 11th-place in the Premier League table, within a point of Newcastle United after beating the Magpies on Monday evening at Stamford Bridge. Goals from Nicolas Jackson, Cole Palmer and Mykhailo Mudryk ensured the hosts left with all three points in SW6 despite some late pressure from the visitors.

Cucurella was brought back into the lineup for the first time in around three months after he had surgery on an ankle problem. The Spaniard was very impressive given the circumstances and the context of his appearance. The 25-year-old completed the full 100 minutes – after stoppage time – for the Blues.

“I think the team deserved the win,” Cucurella said to NBC Sports. “We controlled the game well, we conceded two easy goals in the game but I think it’s part of the game. It’s very important for us, and on Sunday we have another important game.”

Coming into the game there were huge questions being asked over Pochettino and the club’s owners following what supporters deem a lack of progress this season. Nine days before the win over Newcastle, the Blues were held to a 2-2 draw away at Brentford despite taking a first-half lead.

There were loud chants on that day coming from the away section at the Gtech Community Stadium with the supporters voicing their displeasure at Pochettino and Todd Boehly specifically. Inevitably, Pochettino was asked numerous questions in his pre-match press conference last week about the chants and his future, but showed no sign of giving up trying to convince fans he is the right man to lead the club forward.

One of several criticisms pointed at Pochettino is a lack of identity in the way the team play their football. Cucurella, however, has insisted he and the rest of the squad know exactly what is expected from them when they head out onto the pitch.

“I think we have always clear objectives and the style he wants to play,” the Spaniard continued. “I think always it’s difficult because we have a lot of new players, players in their first season in the Premier League and it is one of the most difficult leagues.

“This is a process. We are not happy enough with the results yet, but we have another 10 or 15 games to finish the season, we can finish in the best way.”

At the beginning of the season, the main problem for Chelsea seemed to be creating clear chances – and whenever they did, converting the opportunities. That, however, is no longer a real problem for the Blues, who have scored 29 goals in 14 games – in all competitions – since the turn of the year.

Chelsea are now averaging more than two goals per-game, but defensive errors have let them down at times. In the same 14-game period in 2024, the Blues have conceded 20 goals. The 3-2 win against Newcastle on Monday means Chelsea have now not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since the 1-0 victory over Fulham on January 13.

That means in their last six games, the Blues have conceded at least one goal. Cucurella acknowledges he and his teammates need to improve massively defensively before they can be considered one of the strongest sides in the Premier League.

“In the end, always the goals we concede are small mistakes,” Cucurella explained. “It’s part of the game but we need to improve this. If we improve this, then we are a strong team. We are playing good, we are scoring goals, but then we concede easy goals – it’s one thing we need to improve. But we need to work on this during the week.

“The level of the team today was really high. We controlled the game against a top team and I think we deserved the win. We need to follow it up with working hard and then the results will arrive.”

On a personal level, it was a very positive night for Cucurella. After a lengthy period on the sidelines, the Spaniard would have been keen to make an immediate impact on his return and he managed to do so.

And with Ben Chilwell out for an unspecified amount of time with a knee injury and Levi Colwill also sidelined because of a toe problem, Cucurella is Chelsea’s only recognised left-back available at the moment. Going into the weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final tie at home to Leicester City, Cucurella is surely one of the first names on the team sheet for Pochettino.

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