Mauricio Pochettino has thrown his support behind Nicolas Jackson, calling on Chelsea fans to “give time to him” and saying he believes in the striker’s ability to score goals.
Jackson was criticised by a supporter during the first half of Chelsea’s 2-0 home defeat against Brentford, prompting Pochettino to intervene, and analysis by the former England striker Alan Shearer on Match of the Day suggested that Jackson, a £32m summer signing from Villarreal, was not a “natural goalscorer”.
Pochettino said it was “dangerous” analysis after one game. “You need more matches to come to that opinion,” the manager said. “If you watch the game against Liverpool, Dortmund or Luton, in different circumstances he’s a different player. It is dangerous to make this analysis on one game. Nico was not at his best, but if you watch him in other games he’s one player, if you see (the) Brentford (game) he’s another player. We have to be fair with our analysis, we need to give time to him. I believe in him.”
Chelsea’s defeat by Brentford was their third at home this season, leaving them 11th, and they were booed off. Pochettino pointed to the need to be more “decisive” but believes Chelsea were unlucky not to win and understands fans’ frustrations. “We are a young team, this means too many changes in the summer and the circumstances are not for us. Sometimes (results) are good or sometimes bad. Performance‑wise, we are consistent. Against Brentford at 0-0, playing well, we deserved to be one-, two-, three-nil up in the first half. It’s frustrating for the fans, but we need the fans to tell the players: ‘Come on, we believe in you.’ We need to understand the situation.”
Chelsea finished 12th last season and Pochettino was appointed to try to improve a squad that has had major surgery in the 18 months since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took over. The team take on Blackburn Rovers in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday and for Chelsea, who are not in Europe, it represents a realistic chance of a trophy.
Pochettino said the captain, Reece James, would start. The right-back has not started since the opening day of the season against Liverpool after a hamstring injury. The game comes too soon for Mykhailo Mudryk and Christopher Nkunku, although the former may be fit for Pochettino’s derby return to his former club Tottenham on Monday.
Chelsea’s assistant coach, Jesús Pérez, has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association after he was sent to the stands on Saturday. There was a scuffle after he attempted to get the ball from Brentford’s technical area and he has until Thursday to provide a response.