Mauricio Pochettino believes his Chelsea players deserve more credit for their win over Brighton and feels the character and belief they showed with 10 men will stand them in good stead going forward.
Chelsea bounced back from their 4-1 mauling at Newcastle with a 3-2 home victory over Brighton on Sunday despite playing the whole second half with a man less following Conor Gallagher’s red card.
Pochettino will now be hoping for a similarly determined performance as the Blues look to build on that success when they travel to Manchester United on Wednesday night.
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He said: “I think when I analyse the (Brighton) game I feel proud.
“The way we started the second half against a very good team like Brighton after our situation (red card) and changing our feelings after Newcastle, which was a really tough game for us.
“The players deserve more credit because to play more than 60 minutes with one less against a team who is really good and not concede too much and also score with one player less, I think it is really great for our players and for the team to really believe.
“Those are areas we need to build and to feel comfortable and that shows we have the ability to fight together and to show togetherness, which is so important.
“Before you talk about tactics, you need desire. If we are able to do this we can develop in any way to play.”
Manchester United suffered a setback in their bid for a top-four spot on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 defeat at Newcastle, leaving them one place and two points behind the sixth-placed Magpies.
Chelsea are five points further back in 10th and Pochettino, who was linked with becoming United manager in 2022, is relishing the opportunity to come up against Erik ten Hag – somebody the Argentinian holds in high esteem.
The last time the pair met came during Tottenham’s dramatic 3-2 Champions League semi-final win against Ajax in 2019.
“He’s a fantastic coach. I remember we faced him when I was at Tottenham in the semi-final of the Champions League against Ajax,” Pochettino said.
“I think everyone was talking about him and Ajax so for me he’s a fantastic coach and a great manager.
“I think it will be good to see him after four years because we have not had the pleasure to play him since the semi-final. Now we have the possibility to see him again.”
United may be struggling for form this season but Pochettino is well aware of the threats they pose and admitted the Blues need to be careful at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“They have very good players,” he said.
“They have pace with their offensive players and so we cannot allow them to transition.
“We need to be careful in the way we finish and lose the ball, I think we need to be clever because they have pace through Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho who can transition really fast.
“We need to try to dominate and put pressure by playing in their half and I think that will be the challenge for us.”