Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has rejected suggestions a critical tweet from Thiago Silva’s wife contributed to the Brazilian dropping to the bench in a prickly interview before Wednesday’s FA Cup replay against Aston Villa.
The west Londoners travel to Villa Park looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats to Liverpool and Wolves in the Premier League, shipping eight goals across the two games.
There were boos at Stamford Bridge after the 4-2 loss to Wolves and eyebrows were raised when Thiago Silva’s wife, Belle, appeared to call for Pochettino to be sacked on social media, writing: ‘It’s time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late.’
Belle has since apologised for causing ‘such an impact’ with her post, suggesting it was written in the heat of the moment, while Pochettino revealed that the veteran centre-back had sought him out for clear-the-air talks.
But the 39-year-old, who has been one of few consistent performers for the Blues this season, was not picked to start against Villa in the FA Cup fourth-round replay, with Benoit Badiashile and Axel Disasi preferred.
Speaking shortly before kick-off, Pochettino was adamant the selection had nothing to do with Belle’s tweet and seemed to take umbrage with the notion that he would allow his plans for a match to be dictated by something relatively trivial.
Asked specifically about Thiago Silva’s absence from the starting XI, Pochettino paused and replied: ‘Erm, why the question?
‘Because another player also [can play]. I am professional. I am a coach professional. Always I pick my players because of performance and balance.
‘I think I understand the question, but I want to be calm because I need to be professional and I’m always professional and I’m going to take the decision because of the professional side.’
Probed again on whether that was the only reason Thiago Silva was benched, a frustrated Pochettino replied: ‘My answer was clear, no?’
Speaking about the furore that has been created off the back of the post, Pochettino said at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference: ‘He [Thiago Silva] came today to talk to me.
‘I’m not going to talk about what we were talking but the most important thing is that he came and talked to me.’
Asked about the current state of his relationship with the former Paris Saint-Germain centre-back, Pochettino added: ‘It’s good. It’s very good. I think so. From the beginning, you can see my press conferences and how I talk about him.’
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