Pochettino reacts to Enzo Fernandez’s pointed celebration in Chelsea win | Football

The Chelsea boss praised his compatriot’s performance against Villa (Picture: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino says Enzo Fernandez’s celebration against Aston Villa was a reaction to abuse he and his Chelsea team-mates have received this season, while he praised the midfielder’s display.

The Argentine playmaker, a £107million signing from Benfica just over a year ago, produced one of his best performances in a Chelsea shirt as the west Londoners secured a 3-1 victory at Villa Park in their FA Cup fourth-round replay.

Fernandez dominated the midfield and controlled the tempo of the game, capping his man-of-the-match display with a stunning free-kick that flew past compatriot Emi Martinez.

After scoring, he took off his shirt and held it up to the travelling supporters, pointing at his name as well as the pitch – with many taking the gesture as a reference to his commitment to the club despite speculation he may be regretting making the move to Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino felt Fernandez’s pointed celebration was a reaction to abuse he has received on social media, largely due to the size of the fee Chelsea paid, but he was delighted with his midfielder’s response.

Asked what he made of the celebration, Pochettino replied: ‘Look, today we are living in an era where it is easy to abuse, you know? To the people, to the public people. It’s normal that the players are human, not robots, and it’s so easy today to abuse.

‘I think we need to understand that we are playing football, you know? Of course this type of situation makes us angry, situations that are completely unfair.

Chelsea star Enzo Fernandez

Fernandez makes a point with his goal celebration (Picture: Getty)

‘Today, Enzo showed why he’s here and he showed his quality.

‘But we didn’t have any doubts about him, or about [Moises] Caicedo or about different players, young players that arrived here with expectation to win titles and to score with every single touch!’

He continued: ‘He is a world champion player. Look, when he signed one year ago, he arrived after nearly two years with no holidays, no rest, with the pressure, still young, different environment, different language, different culture, a team that needs time to build. All of these types of circumstance, you need time.

‘I don’t want to annoy the people. For me, it’s not an excuse. I want to be here because I really believe in the project, I really believe in the player.

‘But please, stop to create expectation that does match to the reality and help the players that are here to try and build something.

‘Of course, if that happens again, we will be there to help. It does not surprise me because Enzo has the quality, not only to score this type of goal, but to perform in the way today he performed.’

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