Mauricio Pochettino tells Chelsea to trust him with young players after penalty row

Mauricio Pochettino talks to Noni Madueke after the Chelsea forward argued with team-mates about taking a penalty kick

Mauricio Pochettino has told Chelsea to trust him and his staff over the handling of the club’s young players who are dealing with new levels of scrutiny.

Cole Palmer has become Chelsea’s star of the season after scoring 25 goals in all competitions, while Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson faced criticism all over the globe for their penalty row against Everton.

Pochettino revealed that co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart were present in the post-Everton debrief in which he warned his players that they will be punished if there is a repeat of the penalty incident.

And he has reminded the club that he is best placed to look after the treatment of Chelsea’s inexperienced players, having brought through a host of young stars – including Harry Kane and Dele Alli – during his coaching career.

On the new challenges Palmer – who faces his former club Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday – is dealing with, Pochettino said: “We have the experience as a coaching staff to deal with things like this. Also the club needs to trust in our judgement and assessment. The clubs need to trust. If they do not trust in us, it is difficult to work.

“For me now, it is about helping him to be ready in every single game and try to help with decisions and things that, for sure, will come. The most important thing is that we have the possibility to help. If we don’t have the possibility to help, that is the problem.”

The penalty row with Jackson was not the first time Madueke has been in hot water with Pochettino this season, having been filmed in a nightclub while he was injured during an international break earlier in the season.

“We need to be careful with young kids not to judge too much,” said Pochettino. “We need to be strong sometimes, but also nice to understand the situation.

“The most important thing is to get them to understand that they are young and at a club where maybe six months after they arrive another player is signed who plays in the same place and has the same profile.

“You need to fight for your position and when you think that you should be playing that is not easy. I am not trying to justify, but I need to justify these guys because they are not just top players. We may have three strikers but only play with one and the other two have to wait. But that is part of the process they have to learn because they are young.

Cole Palmer (centre) takes the ball after Nicolas Jackson (second left) and Noni Madueke (right) also tried to grab it
Cole Palmer (centre) eventually scored the penalty against Everton after Nicolas Jackson (second left) and Noni Madueke (right) also tried to take the ball - Getty Images/Catherine Ivill

“For me, we are trying to give them the tools to be competitive and fight for his place and then we will see. We have a very good relationship, but he [Madueke] is a young player who has made a mistake even in the situation that happened on Monday which was a mess.

“We saw the news everywhere, but sometimes when they don’t talk in a good way it is good because Chelsea are appearing to the whole world and players need to understand how to deal with this situation.

“The most important thing with these kids is they need to look at what we and the club expect. It is not just to sign players and throw them into a dressing room over there and say you cannot play football. That is not going to help a young kid to learn and see the real potential of what they can do on the pitch.

“It is not easy for them. They need clear ideas and leadership from people who can spend energy and time to deal with many situations that come up. When you have a young squad you need to be careful.”

Explaining the different pressure on Palmer, following his excellent performances, Pochettino added: “First of all, it is to observe the pressure to play in the Premier League consistently. Then there is the demand in his private life.

“The demands are so high now. Because is scoring, maybe he needs to pay attention to different things with things he maybe did not pay attention [before]. That is going to have an influence on how he is going to prepare, how he is going to rest, how he is going to sleep, how he is going to spend the energy that sometimes before he didn’t spend.

“That’s why we need to be careful. We have the experience to manage this type of thing when a young kid becomes a big star. Maybe he is tired, yes because his life changed. He needs to learn from the experience.”

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