Pochettino: European football would boost Chelsea youngsters


Mauricio Pochettino believes European football would be a good experience for his young Chelsea team next season.

They beat West Ham 5-0 at Stamford Bridge to move up to seventh in the Premier League and are chasing qualification for the Europa Conference League – or even the Europa League if other results go their way.

Speaking after Sunday’s big win, boss Pochettino admitted that he wouldn’t see qualifying for Europe as a success, because the aim has been to win trophies, but that his players and staff would be happy with a strong end to the campaign.

“From the beginning of the season, I have said that the focus is always to win, because we are Chelsea, but I think that created too much pressure,” he said.

“We are going to try to be in Europe. It’s going to be good for the team and the players next season. But I cannot describe this season as successful if we don’t win a title. The expectation is to always win titles with Chelsea.

“Circumstances showed that the reality was really tough, from day one. But deep inside, players and staff are happy. In the really tough moments, we keep pushing and we never give up.”

Pochettino also singled out youngster Noni Madueke for praise after his fine performance against the Hammers.

He said: “When the team is young, all the parts need to be put together to start working.

“The team is growing up very fast now. Look at the maturity of Noni [Madueke]. To be unselfish, play and give the assist to [Nicolas Jackson].

“When this starts to appear, it’s a very positive signal. It was tough to arrive here but everything is moving fast because we have the quality.”