Mauricio Pochettino urges Chelsea to ‘grow up’ after ill-discipline proves costly in Aston Villa loss

Early exit: Malo Gusto was dismissed during Chelsea’s latest home defeat by Aston Villa  (AFP via Getty Images)
Early exit: Malo Gusto was dismissed during Chelsea’s latest home defeat by Aston Villa (AFP via Getty Images)

A frustrated Mauricio Pochettino insisted his players must “grow up” after ill-discipline cost Chelsea as they fell to a 1-0 home defeat against Aston Villa.

Ollie Watkins scored the only goal of the game in the second half at Stamford Bridge, meaning Chelsea are now winless in three matches and have only tasted victory once in their opening six fixtures of the Premier League season.

Malo Gusto was sent off in the second half after VAR upgraded his yellow card to a red following a studs-up challenge on Lucas Digne. Ben Chilwell was booked as well, and a yellow card for £31million summer signing Nicolas Jackson means he is now suspended after collecting five bookings in six games.

“We need to grow up like a team”, Pochettino admitted. “A player like Nico is so young and is feeling the Premier League and is learning. He made the mistake. We feel disappointed because we are paying for too many situations like this.

“It was a little bit unlucky [to lose] because of how many chances they created. We cannot say that the players gave up after 70 minutes. They were fighting until the end with one player less.

“First half we deserved a little bit more. I think we had control of the game. After the red card, the game changed. With 11 men and 10 men, it’s two different games.”

Asked whether he felt the decision to award Gusto a red card was the right one, the Argentine said: “Being honest, it was in front of me but I didn’t see. I cannot say it wasn’t a red card.

“We need to trust the referee and the VAR. Difficult to judge because I didn’t see. It’s the player’s responsibility. We cannot blame the referee. But we cannot blame Malo Gusto because sometimes things happen in football.”

Addressing whether he retains the full support of Chelsea’s owners, Pochettino added: “They care and are disappointed. They are so excited to build a project. But at the same time, they need to support the plan.

“We have the squad we have. We cannot change anything. We must give them all the support that they need because they need to perform on the pitch. The performances are good. I’m not going to say they are excellent. We need to keep working.

“It was good to see [Armando] Broja after nine months out. He gives us a different option, but he needs to build his confidence also.”