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Mauricio Pochettino asks Chelsea supporters to ‘move on’ from Raheem Sterling criticism

By CJ Smith

Mauricio Pochettino asks Chelsea supporters to 'move on' from Raheem Sterling criticism

Published: 17:30, 29 March 2024

Mauricio Pochettino says Raheem Sterling ‘understands’ the recent frustration shown to him by Chelsea fans but has urged supporters and players alike to ‘move on’.

Sterling came under fire for a poor performance during the Blues’ recent 4-2 win over Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals, missing a penalty in the first half before blazing a free-kick over the bar in the second half; the latter even drawing jeers from his own supporters.

Despite attempting four shots and generating 1.53 xG, Sterling was unable to find the back of the net himself. However, the jeers from the Stamford Bridge faithful can still be viewed as harsh considering Sterling created four chances and provided the assist for Cole Palmer to make it 2-0 just before half-time. Nevertheless, Pochettino’s decision to withdraw Mykhailo Mudryk instead of Sterling in the 78th minute was met with more displeasure from Chelsea supporters.

Ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash with Burnley — a game which Chelsea are expected to win comfortably — Pochettino has urged everyone associated with the Blues to ‘move on’ from the incident, but revealed Sterling is taking a level-headed view of recent criticisms.

“We now need to move on. It will help if we do,” Pochettino told reporters.

“What we cannot do is create bigger things from this now because we know fans love our players and I know they will support him and the rest of the team.

“Raheem is a spirited player and he understands it all.”

There has been serious discontent shown by Chelsea supporters toward the club’s ownership as they look likely to finish in the bottom half of the Premier League for the second season running despite eye-watering sums spent on new players. That would be nothing short of a disaster for a club that were European champions as recently as 2021.

Pochettino has asked for a united front between players and supporters as Chelsea seek to climb the Premier League table, while they can still bring home silverware in the form of the FA Cup, which would also secure Europa League qualification for next season.

“We need to be careful in the way we talk and give our opinions because there needs to be a strong relationship between everyone,” said Pochettino. “I just want our players to play really well. I was also suffering the anger of the fans and their disappointment; in fact, the whole team suffered in this situation.”

Is the Raheem Sterling criticism justified?

Prior to joining Chelsea, Sterling had enjoyed a nine-season run for Manchester City and Liverpool combined where he registered at least 10 goals across all competitions. However, since his arrival, the 29-year-old has yet to break that barrier, hitting nine goals last season and sitting on eight this time around. Of course, Chelsea have struggled greatly as a whole since the start of last season and to blame that exclusively on Sterling would be harsh.

In the Premier League alone, Sterling is just under 100 minutes short of equalling his tally from 2022/23 but has already matched his goal (6) and assist (3) outputs. What’s more, he’s also attempted one extra shot (43), completed one more take-on (40), made 19 more recoveries (85) and equalled his penalty area entries (79).

This all suggests that Sterling has settled somewhat in West London. However, it may be difficult to convince many that the forward — now without a cap for England since their World Cup quarter-final loss to France in December 2022 — has shown the form that made him a rampant goalscorer and four-time Premier League champion with Manchester City.

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