Mauricio Pochettino admitted Chelsea lacked experience during Wednesday’s 4-1 hammering at Liverpool.
The Blues’ three-match winning run in the Premier League came to an abrupt end at Anfield, with Pochettino’s young side falling well short.
Despite the £1 billion-plus investment at Stamford Bridge since Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium took over the club in 2022, Pochettino highlighted the difference in quality between Chelsea and Liverpool’s team.
“We need to improve as a team. During the game I think we showed a lack of experience as a team,” Pochettino told a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s match against Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“We showed that we are capable of playing in a different way and to do the things we practice, but sometimes you prepare for the game and you need to arrive and show the right energy, the right attitude, be brave and to show personality and character. Football is that.
“It wasn’t a reality check. But it was the difference between a team who is solid and consistently play together in the last four or five years and a team who want to reach that same level.”
British transfer record signing Moises Caicedo, who joined from Brighton for £115million in August, was substituted in the second half when Chelsea were 3-0 down.
Pochettino refused to single out the 22-year-old’s performance, insisting the squad overall need to improve their levels.
He added: “I think collectively we all need to improve. It’s not just him or it’s not just him and Enzo (Fernandez). I think we all need to improve as a team.”
Christopher Nkunku came off the bench to score Chelsea’s goal at Anfield.
The France international has played four Premier League matches after he sustained a knee and hip injury earlier in the season.
‘We need to work on everything. We need to put more into every moment of the game.'
Christo's post-match assessment. 👇
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 1, 2024
And Pochettino, who was happy with the striker’s impact, wants to be careful in how he builds Nkunku’s fitness when reintroducing him into the starting XI.
“It’s good to see him. Forty-five minutes was enough for him and we need to assess if he can start the next game,” Pochettino said.
“We hope he can cope with the demand of the next game. I think he’s started to show that he’s an option. He had one chance and was able to score a great goal and able to show his quality.
“We need to take care of his situation and to build his confidence and fitness. We are happy in the way he’s helping the team but we need to be careful.”