Mauricio Pochettino believes his Chelsea side were harshly punished for the few mistakes they made in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough, but sees reasons to be hopeful of turning the tie around in the second game at Stamford Bridge.
At the halfway point of the 180 minutes of this semi-final, the scoreline is a disappointing one for the Blues, as they returned home from the Riverside trailing 1-0 despite dominating the game. “The good news is we still have 90 minutes to turn it around, which our head coach believes can happen with a positive approach to the second leg,” said Pochettino.
“It’s so easy to explain,’ said Pochettino. ‘We made some mistakes in the first half and we were punished for that. We created big chances but didn’t score, we were not clinical enough. That is so clear. In the second half we dominated but we didn’t create enough chances. Middlesbrough deserve the credit of course.”
He added: “We were punished for the mistakes we made in the first half. We conceded a goal because it was our mistake. The few mistakes we made they punished us. We created enough chances to score and get a draw at the end. Over 90 minutes I thought we were the better side, but if you don’t score goals you cannot win. They scored and we didn’t. That explains perfectly what happened.
“I am disappointed because I think we deserved a different result, but sometimes you don’t play well and you win. For us it’s like we need to play well, we need to score goals. We play well but sometimes we are not clinical enough and sometimes we are punished. That is the process at this moment we are in.
“It’s the first 90 minutes, the first half of the tie, and we are losing 1-0. In two weeks we are going to have the second leg and we have to be positive that we can win the game and go to the final. That is the objective.”