Mauricio Pochettino issued a damning takedown of himself and his Chelsea side’s season by saying “we are all not good enough” after their 4-2 home defeat to Wolves.
Pochettino’s side fell to a 10th defeat from 23 league games this season as Wolves leapfrogged them into the top half of the Premier League with a convincing win – the visitors’ first at Stamford Bridge in more than 40 years.
Chelsea shipped four goals for the second time in four days after they were humbled 4-1 at Liverpool on Wednesday night, and faced the wrath of their home support at the end of both halves of a game where they barely laid a glove on their opponents, who had been tipped for relegation at the start of the season.
“I think we are all not good enough, that’s the reality,” Pochettino said. “Myself also, as the first person responsible. Of course, what we showed today was that we are not good enough. I agree, 100 per cent.
“We didn’t manage the situation properly, and I don’t want to come here and say I am the best and the players are the worst – but the players have to take responsibility as I do.
“We are not matching the history of the club. We need to accept it and be critical, but we cannot give up. We have to keep working, try hard to change, take decisions to try to find things in a different way if it’s not working in this way and find different solutions.”
Pochettino was asked about the reaction from the stands and issued an apology to the club’s fans on behalf of himself and his squad.
But after watching Raheem Sterling booed off when he was substituted, and a chorus of boos after Chelsea conceded their fourth goal late on, he pleaded for support during their upcoming games as his squad – the second youngest in the Premier League this season – look to rebuild their damaged confidence.
“What you can say is to apologise for the fans,” he said. “Perception is one thing and that’s that Chelsea should be in a different position, but for different circumstances we are not there.
“What we can do is, most importantly, to feel the responsibility and of course we need to accept the organisation and the players we have.
“Then to understand the fans is really important. We want to apologise and feel sorry. We are disappointed like them but we need to fight altogether. If we want to take good results in the future, we have to stay together.
“During the 90 minutes, we need to work together to get a good result, and in the end they will be right to criticise or be angry if the performance is not good.
“The players are young, they need support, and I need to thank the fans who stayed until the end because they were supporting, and then at the end they are entitled to behave how they want to.
“We need to feel the confidence, to feel fresh to compete again. They need help from the fans during the 90 minutes and it’s not to demand anything, but it’s easy to sit outside watching the players run and play, and then when the stress arrives it is not easy.
“But it’s why now what we need to do is be behind them and help them recover from these two defeats.”
‘Mudryk for £70m? He’s not worth £7!’
Speaking on Sky Sports, Jamie O’Hara was stunned by Pochettino’s side, saying: “Chelsea… wow. There are players there on eight-year contracts. I wouldn’t give them one-year contracts.
“Mudryk, £70m? He isn’t worth £7 right now. He gave the ball away 15 times when he came on. Absolutely shocking. If you’re a Chelsea fan, you’d be ashamed watching your side.
“They have fallen so far away from their previous standards, winning Premier Leagues, Champions Leagues. You go to Stamford Bridge and you never got a chance, you never had a shot on goal.
“Now you turn up at the Bridge and think ‘here we go’, rubbing your hands together. They are miles off it.
“They don’t want to be there, half of them. They just want to play nice football like a reserve team, like there is nothing riding on it.
“Three points is everything in the Premier League. They are 11th! One of the worst teams I’ve seen this season. Awful.”
O’Neil praises players’ response to Man Utd heartbreak
Wolves manager Gary O’Neil was impressed with the way his players picked themselves up from conceding an injury-time winner at Manchester United on Thursday night, to recover from Chelsea’s early opener and put their hosts to the sword at Stamford Bridge.
Wolves turned the game on its head before half-time and stepped up their performance after it, scoring a third just after the hour before Matheus Cunha wrapped up a hat-trick from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.
He said: “The lads deserve an awful lot of credit to be able to put in that kind of performance physically, to be able to emotionally recover from that setback on Thursday.
“To fight back to 3-3 against Man Utd and then concede a fourth, then go down 1-0 here, it would’ve been very easy to accept a Chelsea win everyone was expecting, but everyone managed to dig in and fight back, and stick together.
“I’m unbelievably proud of the players and the staff. In the summer we signed three players, and lost a lot of players. In January we weren’t able to strengthen, so everyone at the football club understands we need to maximise everything.
“We need to pull together from people working in the offices and the organisation, to the medical team who know I can’t rotate the team much, so we have to go Thursday-Sunday. The work that goes in from everyone, I’m extremely grateful.”
He revealed Cunha, whose hat-trick guaranteed his most prolific league season since his debut campaign in Europe with Sion in 2018/19, had come to see him after the Man Utd defeat to work on parts of his game.
Their conversations reaped the perfect reward as he became the first Wolves player to score a Premier League hat-trick since Diogo Jota in 2019.
“We’ve spoken a lot about how talented he is,” O’Neil said. “He came to see me the morning after the Man Utd game to have a few words about the match and his game. He’s a great guy who wants to improve things, and understand.
“All we’ve managed to do is turn an unbelievably talented player into an unbelievably talented player who has a real good understanding tactically of how things can be, the positions he can take up and he deserves huge credit. A Premier League hat-trick, especially at Stamford Bridge, is one to remember.”