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Pochettino: Villa win must be starting point for Chelsea revival

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Mauricio Pochettino said Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa must serve as the starting point for a Blues resurgence, ahead of Monday’s trip to Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace.

Chelsea have slipped into the bottom half of the Premier League table, having suffered chastening back-to-back defeats against Liverpool (1-4) and Wolves (2-4).

Those results led to renewed speculation about Pochettino’s long-term future at Stamford Bridge, but his side responded to the noise with an impressive 3-1 win at Villa Park in Wednesday’s fourth-round FA Cup replay.

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Ahead of Chelsea’s trip across the capital to face Roy Hodgson’s embattled Palace side, Pochettino called on the Blues to maintain the standards they set in midweek.

“Before, we had some good performances but were not consistent enough,” he said at Friday’s pre-match press conference.

“Maybe it could be the starting point for us to be consistent and to show this type of performance more often.

“We believe there has to be momentum and this is the time to be consistent. I have seen signs from the players that it could be like this, and I hope it is going to be a very good thing for us.

“That game showed our capacity and our talent, that we have a good squad, we just need to put it together. There are many good things we need to keep now for the future.”

Pochettino knew there was a different kind of pressure on Chelsea after they were crushed on their own turf by Wolves, but he is proud of how his players responded to the criticism.

“The difference was that the noise was bigger than before. The performance [against Villa] was really good. We’ve realised we need to compete in different ways,” Pochettino added.

“The way we competed in the Aston Villa game was the way we need to approach all the games. We need to feel that we can perform in this way.

“The important thing is the level the players are showing. Little by little, we are recovering players, who need time to reach the levels we expect from them.

“The way we are training, the way the players are behaving and the attitude we are showing, I think we are improving. Now it’s about winning the next game and building on the Aston Villa game.”