HomePochettino questions officials' consistency after Nkunku, Neto decisions

Pochettino questions officials’ consistency after Nkunku, Neto decisions


Mauricio Pochettino is still struggling to understand why Chelsea were not awarded a penalty in Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat at Liverpool, questioning the consistency of officials.

Chelsea arrived at Anfield having won three Premier League games in a row, but that run was brought crashing to a halt as they were blown away by Jurgen Klopp’s in-form Reds.

However, the Blues felt they should have been awarded an early spot-kick when Conor Gallagher went down under Virgil van Dijk’s challenge, but referee Paul Tierney did not award a foul and VAR John Brooks quickly cleared the incident.

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Chelsea had an even more convincing appeal at 3-1 down in the second half, with Van Dijk kicking through the right foot of Christopher Nkunku inside the Liverpool area.

Again, Stockley Park cleared Tierney’s decision not to award a penalty, leaving Pochettino incensed.

His frustrations were not helped on Thursday when Tierney, in his role as VAR for Wolves’ dramatic 4-3 defeat to Manchester United, failed to overturn a questionable penalty awarded to Pedro Neto, who went down easily under Casemiro’s challenge.

Reflecting on the Liverpool defeat ahead of Sunday’s clash with Wolves, Pochettino said: “The performance wasn’t good enough. I repeat that again.

“It’s important to be critical, to analyse the situation and say we were not good enough.

“Now I can say, after two days, some decisions happened in the game which maybe changed it in a different way. I need to defend my club, to defend the interests of my club and our fans.

“It was so clear, and then you see a decision last night that was maybe not so clear. The same situation or a similar situation, with the same person… but two different decisions.

“It’s difficult to understand, but I don’t want to complain and I want to say, again, we were not so good. Liverpool were better over 90 minutes, but if the decisions were different, maybe that would have built our confidence and the game would have been different.”

Chelsea enter Sunday’s match at Stamford Bridge just two points clear of 11th-placed Wolves, knowing Gary O’Neil’s men can leapfrog them into the top half with a victory.

Pochettino could receive a double boost in attack, with Nkunku a contender to start after playing 45 minutes off the bench at Anfield, getting on the scoresheet with a low finish across Alisson.

Fellow forward Nicolas Jackson, meanwhile, is back in London after Senegal’s elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations, though he must be assessed.

Asked about Nkunku, Pochettino said: “It was good to see him, but 45 minutes was enough. We need to assess him to see if he can start.

“We hope he can cope with the demands of the game and play more than 45 minutes. He had one chance, scored a great goal and showed his quality.

“We also need to assess Nico. Today [Friday] was his first training session with us, he didn’t play much [at AFCON] but he was away for a month. He will be involved, for sure, if nothing happens tomorrow.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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