Mauricio Pochettino thought Chelsea’s response to consecutive Premier League defeats proved the Blues are in a “good way” after the Blues defeated Sheffield United 2-0 on Saturday.
Following defeats to Manchester United and Everton, Pochettino’s Chelsea kept the critics at away with a hard-fought victory at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were far from in complete control against the Premier League’s worst team, but goals from Cole Palmer and Nicolas Jackson in the second half secured a much-needed victory.
“I think we talked a lot during the week after Everton about needing drastic change,” Mauricio Pochettino remarked.
“It was critical to ensure that we are on the right track. The team was disappointed in the first half because we couldn’t get beyond Sheffield United’s low block.”
Chelsea’s first goal came in the 54th minute, thanks to good work from Palmer and Raheem Sterling, whose low cross was completed with a calm finish by the former Manchester City forward.
Seven minutes later, Palmer became the creator as Jackson made it two, lifting the ball into the box for Sterling and Conor Gallagher to assault.
Wes Foderingham, the Blades’ goalkeeper, spilled it, and Palmer knocked it back to Jackson for a 2-0 lead.
Pochettino credited the victory to a change of position in the second half, when he swapped places with Sterling to take up a more central role.
“We didn’t show the capacity to be flexible and it was easy for them to identify our position and to block us and make us put the ball in positions that were easy for them to stop,” he went on to say.
“We were much better in the second half; we fixed things.” The team began to look for better ways to play and link considerably better.
“Cole from the right, going into the space, started to link better with team-mates and be the player that we want to use – a playmaker.”
Pochettino shrugged off queries about dropping Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez.
Gallagher and Moises Caicedo replaced the World Cup winner in central midfield.
“You can only play 11,” he explained. “There’s a lot of competition; sometimes you need one profile over another, and you pick the players.”
“The combination between Caicedo and Gallagher, using Cole like a number 10, that was the possibility for the best combination.”