Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that any blame for goalkeeper Robert Sanchez’s mistakes should rest with him – the manager. Sanchez, who Chelsea signed for £25 million from Brighton in August, has had an uncertain start to his Stamford Bridge career. The 25-year-old handed Arsenal a lifeline back into last week’s game with bitter rivals Arsenal when his terrible kick allowed Declan Rice to score into an empty net, and Chelsea ended up drawing a game they had been 2-0 up in.
The Spaniard has started all 11 games in league and cup since joining Chelsea, but has kept just four clean sheets – and in the Carabao Cup win over his old team Brighton he almost handed Joao Pedro a goal, passing the ball straight to him.
Sanchez has looked shaky in several games – but Pochettino, who side face Brentford at Stamford Bridge at lunchtime today on the back of a run of four unbeaten matches, is adamant that if the finger of blame should be pointed anywhere, it is at him – because he wants his goalkeeper to keep on playing the ball out from the back
The Chelsea manager said: “Robert is very relaxed, very calm. He is very good. We are there to try and help. We are helping him. He knows, we know, football is about mistakes.
“The responsibility is with the whole team, and the coaching staff is the first. We transmit the idea of how we want to play. To blame someone is to blame us – myself – but not him. Robert is delivering what we want and of course, maybe you can miss a penalty, you can miss a pass.”
Pochettino added: “When you are more confident, when the results are better and you are higher in the table, maybe you try to do different things or maybe take more risks, as you feel more confident and strong. Robert is showing great character and personality. He is going to be good. I have no doubt about that.”
The Chelsea manager revealed that skipper Reece James is still not ready to start games yet, but is set to be on the bench again today as he continues his comeback from his hamstring injury.
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Chelsea have won only one of their last dozen league games at home, stretching back into last season, and Pochettino has demanded that it is time that Stamford Bridge was turned into a fortress again: “It is really important. We need to create a run at home. We need to start to project the image that we are solid and consistent in front of our fans. We are desperate to show our fans that we can get three points.”
Probable team (4-3-3): Sanchez; Gusto, Disaso, Silva, Colwill; Gallagher, Fernandez, Caicedo; Palmer, Sterling, Mudryk.
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