Chelsea ease pressure on Pochettino with classy FA Cup win at Aston Villa

Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez (right) saves a shot from Chelsea's Moises Caicedo during a FA Cup fourth round replay football match at Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain on Wednesday.

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Mauricio Pochettino hailed Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth-round replay on Feb 7 as “the best performance of the season”, but was also quick to remind fans that his young team will need “time and trust” if they are to build on this project.

Successive heavy losses in the English Premier League had left the Blues in 11th place in the league despite a massive outlay on signings, and has placed a huge strain on Pochettino.

Bizarrely, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain manager also came under fire from the wife of his experienced defender Thiago Silva.

She took to social media calling for change after a 4-2 home drubbing by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Veteran Silva was left on the bench at Villa Park, but Pochettino’s young guns finally delivered the kind of sustained display that has been sadly lacking this season.

First-half goals by Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson put Chelsea in control, before Enzo Fernandez delivered a sublime free kick after half-time.


Villa, who are on the fringe of the Premier League title race and 15 points above Chelsea, were outplayed as their cup hopes evaporated and Moussa Diaby’s late effort was a mere consolation.

When asked by ITV Sport if it was one of Chelsea’s best performances, Pochettino replied: “I think so… it is one of the best or maybe the best of the season.

“I’m so happy with the performance. It’s about being solid and consistent, and that’s the most difficult for a young team to find the balance.

“Today I was so pleased, the team were ready to compete, ready to fight with energy and attitude.”

Villa began brightly but were stopped in their tracks in the 11th minute as Jackson pulled the ball back for Noni Madueke, who teed up Gallagher to sidefoot a clinical finish into the roof of the net.