What Mauricio Pochettino told Chelsea players in ‘meeting’ before Aston Villa win | Football

Malo Gusto has revealed details of Chelsea’s pre-match ‘meeting’ (Picture: Getty)

A defiant Mauricio Pochettino demanded Chelsea’s players get their ‘mentality’ right and ‘stay together under pressure’ before the side’s resurgent 3-1 victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

After a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge, Tuesday’s all-Premier League fourth round replay arrived at a time of intense pressure for the Blues, with the west London giants suffering back-to-back defeats heading into the clash.

But Pochettino’s men produced one of their most convincing performances of the campaign to book their place in the last 16 of the competition, where they will play host to Daniel Farke’s Leeds United.

Goals from Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson gave Chelsea a healthy lead at the half-time break and Enzo Fernandez’s majestic 25-yard free-kick put the visitors out of sight in the 54th minute at Villa Park.

Moussa Diaby found the net via the post in stoppage time but it was too little, too late for Villa and Chelsea will look to use their display as a springboard ahead of a crucial period, with Pochettino’s side facing Crystal Palace in the league on Monday evening.

Speaking shortly after the final whistle, Gusto – one of the standout players on the night – lifted the lid on a meeting Chelsea’s playing and coaching staff held prior to kick-off.

‘We are Chelsea and it was important to show the fans we are not dead,’ Gusto said.

Mauricio Pochettino gesticulates during Chelsea's FA Cup win over Aston Villa

Pochettino was under intense pressure heading into Tuesday’s replay (Picture: Getty)

‘We had a meeting before the game and the coach told us to get a good mentality. That we had to stay together under pressure.

‘We know that the group is young so it’s important that we stay together and we will all become better.

‘We know we have to show more. We have to show our talent. But we are a young squad and we will improve. All together to become better.

‘We’ve been working on it this week, keeping the ball and moving it quickly. I think we did that.’

Gusto, who provided the assist for Jackon’s 21st-minute header, was proud of the way in Chelsea’s squad proved their togetherness at a time of great adversity.

‘I can’t say if it was our best performance of the season, or not,’ the France full-back added.

‘The most important thing was the collective. Our mentality was nice, together, and that’s why we won.

‘You never know what might happen. We have to stay focused on the Premier League, the FA Cup and we are in the final of the Carabao Cup too.’


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