Mauricio Pochettino accuses ‘soft’ Chelsea of giving up in Arsenal humiliation

Mauricio Pochettino - Mauricio Pochettino accuses 'soft' Chelsea of giving up in Arsenal humiliation
Mauricio Pochettino was not happy with his team's performance in north London - Getty Images/Marc Atkins

Mauricio Pochettino admitted his Chelsea players “gave up” and accused his team of being “so soft” as their shambolic season hit a new low with a 5-0 thrashing by Arsenal.

Chelsea’s defeat was their heaviest ever loss to Arsenal and meant that there are now 30 points between the two sides, with Pochettino saying: “When we have bad days, we are so bad.”

Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, said he had “all the sympathy in the world” for Pochettino, his close friend, and praised Arsenal’s courage as they moved three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.

Arsenal are now four points ahead of Manchester City, widely regarded as the favourites to win the league again, but have played two more games than Pep Guardiola’s team.

Chelsea, meanwhile, remain stuck in ninth place after another night which provoked serious questions about Pochettino’s future and the overarching project at the club.

‘We didn’t compete from the beginning of the game’

The night was made worse for Chelsea by the fact that Kai Havertz, their former player, scored twice for Arsenal.

“Everyone saw we didn’t compete from the beginning of the game,” said Pochettino. “After we conceded I think the team was so soft. I’m so disappointed with the start because we’re supposed to have full energy and compete better.

“We were not aggressive and we did not concentrate in situations where it is easy to find the solution. That is why we’re so disappointed.

“We were talking at half-time to start in a different way [in the second half]. But we started really bad. When we conceded the third goal we gave up.

“Arsenal is a very good team. But we allowed them to play. We gave all the possibility to play and create chances [to them]. In some parts of the game it was an even game. But we’re too inconsistent.”

During the second half, a young Chelsea fan held up a banner reading: “I don’t want your shirt! I want you to want to fight for ours.”

Mauricio Pochettino accuses 'soft' Chelsea of giving up in Arsenal humiliation
Mauricio Pochettino accuses 'soft' Chelsea of giving up in Arsenal humiliation

Asked about the banner by TNT Sports, Chelsea captain Conor Gallagher said: “We definitely are putting the effort in. I know how much it means to all the boys. It is a very young squad with not much experience as a team in the Premier League.

“We have had a lot of ups and downs and we are still improving as a team to get to the next level and today was one of those days we were nowhere near it.”

Arteta expressed his support for Pochettino, saying: “[I have] all the sympathy in the world. With everything that he’s been through and everything that he’s been doing. He knows that.

“I’ve been on the other side as well. He’s doing a great job, I think when you look at this team and analyse every second of them, they deserve to win many matches, they deserve to win against big teams. He’s doing a really good job so hopefully things will turn around and be as he deserves.”

Asked if his relationship with Pochettino had any impact on his enjoyment of the occasion, the Arsenal manager added: “No. I love winning. He would try to do the same.”

Arteta’s title-chasers have looked fatigued in recent weeks but they were full of energy against Chelsea, creating numerous chances across the course of the night.

“In the second half we kept growing physically,” said Arteta. “What these boys have done in the last 10 days is unbelievable, physically. When you look at some of the numbers, it’s unreal. But they can do it and they can improve themselves because they want to. They have the mentality and they really want to win it.”

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