Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea fans were right to boo Raheem Sterling | Football

Raheem Sterling had a nightmare game against Leicester (Photo: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino launched a passionate defence of Raheem Sterling following Chelsea’s 4-2 win in the FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City.

But he added that fans were within their right to boo the player who put in an awful performance at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea reached the FA Cup semi-finals.

Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer gave the home side a comfortable lead at half-time, but they ought to have been 3-0 up as Sterling had a poor penalty saved by Jakub Stolarczyk.

The England winger took the spot-kick off regular penalty taker Cole Palmer and captain Conor Gallagher was criticised for allowing the debacle to happen, but Pochettino defended his players and said these decisions were to be left in their hands.

‘For me the decision is there and I am going to support the decision of my players on the pitch,’ the manager said in his post-match press conference.

‘Always happy with their decision.

‘The feelings weren’t good for him [Sterling] but I am going to support him. He has an unbelievable CV. Playing for big teams, an experienced player.

Chelsea FC v Leicester City - Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final

Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea are through to the FA Cup semi-finals (Photo: Getty)

‘Today he missed a penalty and some chances but we are going to support.’

After squandering further chances to score, including blasting a free-kick into row Z, Sterling was loudly and routinely booed by his own supporters before being hauled off in the 86th minute.

Bizarrely, Pochettino suggested fans were right to jeer the 29-year-old, though he would always be there to defend him.

‘I think yes [fans were right to boo], we need to accept the situation,’ he added.

‘Like when I try to explain the situation on the squad. To explain also the fans. We need to accept to agree or not agree. All the fans live on expectation and wanting the best for the club.

‘We need to support him, he’s an amazing player. He has more than 10 years experience in the Premier League.

‘Of course I think the contribution was good. He was a little bit unlucky with some actions where he should have scored.

‘But we are a team and we need to be there for everyone.

‘Fans are entitled to show their emotion. For us we try to emphasise with our fans not to criticise. They want the best for our team and players.

‘But we are in a project. We need support and to really believe. We are trying to build something.’

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