‘Not fair’ to judge Chelsea due to injury problems, says Pochettino

Pochettino criticised his young squad for not being "mature enough" after they threw away two points at Sheffield United.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino said it is unfair to make judgements on his disappointing debut season with the club due to the Blues’ injury problems.

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Pochettino could be without 11 first team players for Monday’s visit of Everton as the west Londoners aim to make a late push to qualify for European football next season.

Chelsea are ninth in the Premier League but just five points adrift of sixth-placed Manchester United with a game in hand.

Even a return to Europe next season in the Europa League or Europa Conference League is scant return for over £1 billion ($1.3 billion) invested by the club’s owners over the past two years on new players.

Pochettino criticised his young squad for not being “mature enough” after they threw away two points at bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United last weekend by conceding a stoppage time equaliser.

But the Argentine admitted he has to strike a more positive tone and accept the “reality” of the situation he is dealing with.

“Being honest, it is true that it is a special season for us because we are suffering (a lot of injuries) at the moment,” Pochettino said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“At the moment it is not fair to judge players. It’s very tough when you don’t have the squad fit, we want to increase the competition between them, but that’s not an excuse.

“We need to be more positive and we need to accept that is the reality. I think it is sometimes I need to be more positive because we have a really good squad and we need to work to support them.”

Axel Disasi and Enzo Fernandez are the latest players to join Pochettino’s injury list, while Raheem Sterling and Robert Sanchez could miss out against Everton through illness.