Mauricio Pochettino believes Saturday’s 4-1 come-from-behind win at Burnley can be worth much more to Chelsea than simply three points.
Raheem Sterling, again snubbed by England, starred as Chelsea responded to Wilson Odobert’s surprise early strike for the Clarets, having a hand in all four goals as Pochettino’s side ultimately ran out comfortable winners on a ground where they have still never lost a Premier League match.
An own goal from Ameen Al-Dakhil, Cole Palmer’s penalty, Sterling’s strike and a Nicolas Jackson goal made it back-to-back league wins for the first time since March for Chelsea and three straight in all competitions for a side still trying to find their way under Pochettino.
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 7, 2023
Coming into the match, Chelsea had failed to win any of the previous 19 league matches in which they had conceded first, and had not scored four or more goals since thrashing Southampton 6-0 in April 2022, and this win will deliver another injection of confidence.
“Always when you concede first and you need to break down the opponent always you feel proud when you achieve that,” Pochettino said.
“The team were playing well and with the chances conceded in a situation that was completely unfair, but the team were really good, solid, the whole team.”
Given the upturn in Chelsea’s form, the international break is perhaps badly-timed from their perspective, but Pochettino hopes the next fortnight will see Chelsea’s considerable injury worries ease before they return to action with a tough fixture at home to Arsenal on October 21.
Onwards, together. pic.twitter.com/KnGKHKLoUq
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Although Wesley Fofana and Christopher Nkunku are long-term absentees; Reece James, Benoit Badiashile, and Trevor Chalobah should all come back into the frame for that match, while Pochettino hopes to see Ben Chilwell and Romeo Lavia take strides in their own rehabilitations.
“We want to improve players and try to recover the players that were injured,” Pochettino said when asked what he wanted to take from the next fortnight. “The next two weeks we’re going to spend working on the training ground with a different mood from the last months.
“After two victories it is much better but I think we will keep pushing, working hard to be better in the next months.”
It was another tough afternoon for Burnley, who have now equalled the unwanted record of five consecutive home defeats to start a top-flight season, something only previously suffered by Manchester United in 1930-31, Portsmouth in 2009-10, Bolton Wanderers in 2011-12 and Newcastle United in 2018-19.
All but Newcastle went on to suffer relegation, and although Vincent Kompany can point to a brutal fixture list which has already seen both Manchester clubs, Tottenham and Aston Villa visit before Chelsea, he knows it must change fast.
“It’s got to be a tough place always,” Kompany said. “To say that at Turf Moor you get the three points against all these teams, I’ve been in the game long enough to know that’s not the case.
“I had that feeling against United (a 1-0 defeat) where until the last minute you’re in the game. It’s being close that’s important. The game was put past us in a very short time and that’s something that sets you back in these games massively.”
There were positives for Kompany to pick out, however, most obviously the sight of Odobert marking his first Premier League start by becoming Burnley’s youngest scorer in the competition at the age of 18 and 313 days.
“He has the advantage of being such a young player,” Kompany said. “He’s 18 so he can almost do nothing wrong… with wingers, sometimes you get away with being a bit younger because speed and the threat one-v-one always gives you something to think about.
“That’s what we’ve had with Wilson and (Luca) Koleosho and those are guys who are only going to get better.”