Sports, Football

Chelsea beat Villa to ease pressure on Poch

Published : 08 Feb 2024 09:03 PM

Chelsea eased the spotlight on manager Mauricio Pochettino with a dominant 3-1 win at Aston Villa to reach the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday, as Nottingham Forest set up a clash against Manchester United. 

Conor Gallagher, Nicolas Jackson and Enzo Fernandez struck for the Blues at Villa Park to banish memories of a 4-2 home defeat to Wolves on Sunday.

Chelsea were booed off by a disgruntled home support at the weekend as Wolves' rout followed a 4-1 thrashing at Liverpool a week ago. With Pochettino's men languishing in 11th in the Premier League, an early FA Cup exit would have further ramped up the pressure on the Argentine.

Pochettino insisted on Tuesday he would not lose his hair over the stress of the job and was rewarded for some bold calls with his team selection.

Thiago Silva was dropped to the bench just hours after his wife apologised for a social media outburst in which she called for "change" at the club.

Raheem Sterling was also left out on a night when a number of Chelsea's expensive young guns stood up to be counted.

"I think (it) was one of the best or maybe the best performance of the season," said Pochettino. "It arrived in a very good moment for us.

"We have a young team. It's about being solid and consistent and it is the most difficult thing in a young team."

It was one of the club's academy graduates who got the ball rolling as Gallagher smashed home from close range for his first goal of the season.