Mauricio Pochettino reveals major fear ahead of Chelsea v Man Utd | Football

Chelsea return to action against Manchester United on Thursday night (Picture: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino fears his struggling Chelsea players have fallen into a ‘comfort zone’ and says a better mentality must be shown against Manchester United.

Chelsea had hoped to end a difficult season on a high after the international break but they were held to a 2-2 draw by ten-man Burnley at the weekend to slip to 12th in the Premier League.

Pochettino’s side have won just 11 of their 28 league games this season and are ten points closer to the relegation zone than they are current leaders Arsenal.

Chelsea will look to get some momentum going when another struggling club – Manchester United – travel to Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.

Speaking ahead of the clash in west London, Pochettino was asked whether he fears his players may fallen into a comfort zone and said: ‘Yes. I agree. It was one of the subjects we were talking about.

‘I am going to explain what I explained to them. When I was at Espanyol, my first experience as a coach, I was at the training ground at 7 o’clock every morning.

‘Then when I moved to Southampton: 6.30am. Then to ­Tottenham: 7am, sometimes 7.30am. Then PSG: the same, 6 in the morning. Now, again: 6.45am, 6.40am. 

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‘It is not going to change. After 15 years, my passion is here, my moti­vation is football. After 15 years of working your salary increases but that cannot put me in a very comfortable zone to say: “Now I arrive at 9 o’clock and leave at 2 o’clock.” I need to keep pushing myself.

‘That question is true. If now because I move from another club – in another club I was playing for less money, for less expectation, no one is expecting ­anything from me – but now I arrive here and people really believe that I’m so good but now I feel the pressure, what do I need to do?

‘It is to arrive early, it is to work more. It is to run more, it is to be more focused.  What you say is important. Never be in a comfort zone.

‘If you are in a comfort zone you drop your level, you drop your standards. I don’t say that happened here because too many other things happened. But that is one of the things that we are aware of.

‘When you mix this a little bit, a small percentage, easy life, easy that, then when you put it all together it is not easy.

‘The demand to win is completely different. To prepare yourself to win every single game you need to have experience, to be mature, to know yourself and the people around you. Why we are in the process to build something.’

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Manchester United are six places above Chelsea but have nonetheless endured a disappointing season themselves under Erik ten Hag.

The Red Devils, hoping to gatecrash the top-four places during the run-in, were outplayed by Brentford in a fortuitous 1-1 draw last time out.

Manchester United travel to Stamford Bridge without centre-backs Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof, who have both been ruled out for ‘at least a month’ with muscular injuries.

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