Mauricio Pochettino tells Chelsea ‘kids’ they will be out if they repeat penalty argument

Cole Palmer and Nicolas Jackson – Chaos as Chelsea players tussle over penalty against Everton

Mauricio Pochettino laid into his Chelsea players who argued over a second-half penalty and warned his entire squad they will be “out” if there is ever a repeat of the incident.

Cole Palmer scored four goals in a 6-0 thrashing of Everton, but Pochettino was left furious by a row involving Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson, who tried to take Palmer’s penalty off him.

Jackson argued with Madueke, who had initially taken the ball, and then shoved Palmer after Chelsea captain Conor Gallagher and Thiago Silva intervened.

Palmer eventually took the ball and scored the penalty – his fourth of the game – but Pochettino, the Chelsea head coach, described his players as being “kids”.

Jackson and Caicedo appeared to continue the argument after the final whistle when footage showed the pair deep in discussion before heading separately towards the tunnel.

“It’s a shame,” said Pochettino. “I told the players [in the dressing room] we can’t behave in this way. I told them this is the last time I will accept this type of behaviour. They’re all involved in this situation, next time they’re all out. This is not a joke.

“It’s impossible after a performance like this to see this type of behaviour. If we want to be a great team, fighting for big things, we need to change and think more in a collective way.

“I made clear to them, and now through the media, and I say to our fans and to everyone, Cole Palmer is the penalty taker. And it’s now his choice if he wants to give the ball to another player, but not in this way.”

Pochettino added: “They are not experienced players that really know what they are doing. They are young. They are kids. They need to experience some situations to learn.

“We are like in a school. We need to show that they were wrong, now they need to learn. If they don’t learn, yes, we will take some decisions. Now it is about learning, using this experience to move on.”

Palmer had earlier tried to downplay the penalty incident by saying: “Other players wanted to take it, which was understandable. I am the penalty taker and wanted to take it. We’re just trying to show everyone that we want to take responsibility. Maybe it was over the top a bit, the argument. We were laughing and joking about it.” Palmer’s four-goal haul took him level with Erling Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot.

Everton midfielder Dele Alli, who played for Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur, was working as a pundit for Sky Sports on the game and pointed out the fact neither Jackson nor Madueke had tried to take the late penalty Palmer scored against Manchester United.

“In that last big game, when it was the last minute and the pressure was on, I didn’t see them all fighting to take it then,” said Alli. “It’s alright when it’s 4-0 and you want to get on the scoresheet. If you want to get on the scoresheet don’t try that at 4-0 in an unpressurised situation.”

Pochettino’s anger at the penalty row was matched by Everton manager Sean Dyche over his team’s performance.

“Really poor,” said Dyche. “Miles off the intent and desire to win a match. You have to give strength, put a tackle in. I thought we were mildly better in the second half, but the first half miles off.”

Penalty psychodrama envelops the Bridge – again

You would usually call this a good season for penalties at Chelsea. After Monday night’s thumping of Everton Pochettino’s team have been awarded 14 and scored 12. Cole Palmer has taken nine and scored them all, Madueke is similarly faultless from his two attempts. Enzo Fernández has scored one attempt from two from 12 yards. Raheem Sterling has taken one and missed

This omits the psychodrama which has enveloped the ritual on a number of occasions. In an otherwise flawless evening for the home side on Monday, there was another tiff about who should take the kick.

Palmer was fouled with his team 4-0 up and Madueke picked up the ball and stood over the spot. Gallagher ordered Madueke to surrender the ball to Palmer, passed it on himself, then Jackson came steaming in, apparently to plead Madueke’s case. Palmer pushed him away, sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way and made it 5-0. Jackson had to be cajoled into celebrating the goal.

All of this seemed highly unnecessary given the scoreline and the generally upbeat mood. Perhaps Palmer should have declared on three goals for the night and donated his spot kick to his team-mate, but certainly the decision for him to take it should not have caused an internal ruction where it briefly seemed plausible that team-mates might come to blows.

This is not the first time this has happened this season, nor the second, nor even the third. Sterling grabbed the ball from Palmer against Leicester in the FA Cup and missed, Madueke pleaded for the right to take the spot kick which Palmer equalised with against Manchester United in the league earlier this month and Palmer and Sterling argued about the right taker against Arsenal in October. Again, Palmer scored.

Maybe one day Chelsea will learn the lesson which seems obvious to all neutral observers: just let Palmer handle it.

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