Pochettino happy after ‘difficult’ victory with Chelsea on the verge of Europe

Not sure when Brighton decided to become a roiling cauldron of hate against Chelsea, but there we were on the pitch, getting booed and assaulted from all corners and by all comers. Guess we haven’t given them enough millions yet.

Combined with some, shall we say ... inconsistent? ... refereeing, it made for a tough afternoon for Mauricio Pochettino’s boys, both emotionally as well as physically.

We didn’t all quite hold it together — Reece James’ petulance was unfortunate, Malo Gusto’s latest muscle twinge is a concern, and Mykhailo Mudryk’s concussion is nothing to dismiss with a casual wave of football-machismo — but of the things that we could control, our quality and determination showed through when it mattered most.

It wasn’t perfect: there a few too many wasteful attacks and a few too many instances of panicked defending. We seemed to be confused by some of the tactical instructions at the start, but we sorted those out quickly enough and controlled proceedings by and large, certainly in the first half and until the red card.

The sending off rules out Reece James of the season finale, and the blindside hit (would have been a penalty in the “other” football, let alone in this one!) does the same for Mykhailo Mudryk.

But just a point in that finale, Sunday against Bournemouth, will be enough to see us finish sixth and qualify for either the Europa League or the Europa Conference (depending on which Manchester win the FA Cup). And that would be a nice way to finish this season indeed.

“So happy for the players, they deserve the full credit for the way that we worked, our approach to the game and the way we tried to apply all of the work we were doing on the training ground. I am proud. To face a team like Brighton is always difficult here. We are so happy because the three points mean we are closer to achieving what we want.”

-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Football.London


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