HomePochettino sees domestic cups as route into Europe for struggling Chelsea

Pochettino sees domestic cups as route into Europe for struggling Chelsea

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Mauricio Pochettino is viewing the FA and EFL Cups as valuable routes into Europe for Chelsea, as the Blues prepare to face Championship opponents in both competitions in the coming days.

Chelsea are languishing in 10th place in the Premier League table, six points adrift of West Ham in sixth, after enduring an inconsistent start to Pochettino’s reign.

The Blues are without European football this campaign and are desperate to return to continental competition in 2024-25, particularly after spending over £1billion in the transfer market in just 18 months under the Todd Boehly regime.

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Pochettino’s side are at home to Preston North End in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, before going on the road to start a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

Given Chelsea’s league struggles, Pochettino knows winning his first trophy in the English game this season could bring additional long-term benefits to Stamford Bridge.

“The EFL Cup and FA Cup are competitions where we need to try to go further. We need to go step by step and the first step is tomorrow,” Pochettino said on Friday.

“It’s an important competition for us because we are not involved in European competition, and in the Premier League, we need to improve a lot if we want to play in Europe next season.

“Through the FA Cup or the EFL Cup, we can achieve Europe for next season. It’s important because from the start we only had three competitions and we are still in three competitions.”

While Pochettino is not planning wholesale changes for the visit of Preston, the Argentine believes an FA Cup run could represent a valuable experience for some of the younger players in his squad.

“It’s a good opportunity. Different competitions sometimes offer us opportunities to use different players, to see how they perform,” he said.

“It is so important, for the way we are building, the possibility to provide players with experience to compete at a high level in an important game for us.

“It’s a process and we are happy with the timing. We cannot be satisfied because we are Chelsea and at Chelsea, the expectation is to win.

“It is a process which will take time and the evolution is at the level we needed it to be. With all the circumstances, we are in the situation that we need to be.”

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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