Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino explains ‘scouting trip’ to Brighton match | Football

The Argentine coach made a surprise appearance at The Amex (Pictures: Getty / TNT Sports)

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has laughed off suggestions he was on a scouting trip when he visited Brighton on Thursday evening to watch their European tie against Roma.

The Seagulls were hammered 4-0 at the Stadio Olimpico last week in their Europa League last-16 tie and briefly threatened to mount an unlikely comeback in the second leg when Danny Welbeck put the side ahead shortly before half-time.

But that was the only goal of the game and Brighton were unable to breach the Italian side’s stubborn rearguard again despite enjoying 65 per cent possession and mustering 21 shots on goal.

A few eyebrows were raised at the presence of Pochettino in the stands at the Amex Stadium, with the Chelsea boss also accompanied by sporting director Paul Winstanley – who used to work for Brighton.

Pochettino’s sighting got fans excited that he might be scouting a potential signing, but the Argentine has dismissed any speculation and says he was simply keen to watch a live football match and see Brighton up close before a Premier League meeting currently scheduled for 20 April.

Asked if he was on a scouting trip on the south coast, Pochettino laughed and replied: ‘No, no, it’s not my job to scout!

‘No, we wanted to go because in three weeks – we hope not [because it is FA Cup semi-final weekend] – we play Brighton in Brighton.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea have raided Brighton for a number of players and staff (Picture: Getty)

‘And of course it was a good opportunity to watch live football, because we don’t have time.

‘We love to watch football in our life and it was a great opportunity because it’s only 45 minutes from here, from Cobham, and we decided to go at the last moment.

‘I think it was good to watch a game where you are only a spectator and you enjoy the game rather than to suffer when you are on the touchline!

‘But I think it was good, it was good to watch Roma, Brighton also. It was good Jesus [Perez], no? It was good. Jesus was there also. He was next to Paul!’

Chelsea are scheduled to face Brighton in five weeks’ time, but it is also the weekend of the FA Cup semi-finals – which the Blues will take part in if they overcome Leicester City in the quarter-final at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

On the tie against Leicester, Pochettino said: ‘The opportunity to be in Europe through the FA Cup would be massive. But we see Leicester are doing very well in the Championship and the coach is doing fantastic. It will be very tough game.

‘Their manager is doing a fantastic job and now it will be tough because the final period you need to be solid.’

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