Mauricio Pochettino frustrated by ‘extremes’ of inconsistent Chelsea campaign

Mauricio Pochettino frustrated by ‘extremes’ of inconsistent Chelsea campaign

Mauricio Pochettino lamented a season of “extremes” for Chelsea after they fell to their biggest defeat in more than five years in Tuesday’s loss to Arsenal.

The 5-0 hammering at the Emirates Stadium, as well as being their worst ever result against the Gunners, was the fifth time this season that the team have conceded four or more goals in a Premier League match.

The Argentinian was left frustrated by the wild fluctuations seen across his side’s performances, with the beating in north London coming three days after they were arguably the better team in losing 1-0 to champions Manchester City in their FA Cup semi-final.

“We are capable of having amazing performances, and three days after (the semi-final), in extremes,” said Pochettino.

“Our standard is not sustained. The bad days, when we have bad days, we are so bad. Then when we are good, we are capable of everything.”

Chelsea were without talismanic forward Cole Palmer at the Emirates, the 21-year-old missing out due to illness eight days after his four goals in the team’s 6-0 win over Everton propelled him to the top of the scoring charts alongside City striker Erling Haaland.

It was the side’s biggest win under Pochettino but the euphoria of the result at Stamford Bridge seemed a distant memory as they were humiliated by Mikel Arteta’s title-chasers.

Heavy defeats have become a discomfiting theme of a poor season. Prior to Monday’s thrashing the team had lost 4-1 away at Newcastle and Liverpool and 4-2 at home to Wolves, whilst a porous defence was exposed in high-scoring games against City (4-4) and Manchester United (a 4-3 win).

As well as contending with Palmer’s absence, Pochettino was forced to field an unfamiliar back four at the Emirates which included handing a first league start to 20-year-old Alfie Gilchrist, as fitness concerns continued to scupper the manager’s quest for consistency.

“It was a great opportunity for different players to step and say, ‘we are here, it doesn’t only depend on one player’,” said Pochettino.

“But we didn’t compete. I cannot blame the players. As a team we are showing this inconsistency. That is why we are where we are.

“We cannot blame the players. I am not going to blame the players. The circumstances are bigger than the performance of the players. We cannot blame young guys that came here.

“After suffering some circumstances, they come here and have to fight against a team that is (challenging) to win the Premier League.

“That is the first time the defensive line has played together. It’s not an excuse. I don’t want to go again and again to talk in the same way. It’s the circumstance we are living. From the beginning of the season we have suffered too many situations that are not helping.”