Mauricio Pochettino found himself in a state of bewilderment during his pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea’s clash last night, grappling with an intriguing question about the exclusion of Thiago Silva from the starting lineup in the FA Cup fixture.
In an interaction with ITV Football, the Argentine manager was visibly puzzled by the inquiry into his decision not to initiate Silva in the crucial encounter. Despite mounting pressure and scrutiny, Pochettino responded emphatically on the field, orchestrating a resounding 3-1 victory against Aston Villa away from home, securing a coveted spot in the fifth round of the cup, where they are slated to face Leeds United at Stamford Bridge.
Pochettino, strategically reshuffling the deck after a humbling experience against Wolves, implemented several changes, including a noteworthy alteration in the defensive lineup. The seasoned Silva found himself relegated to the bench, adding a layer of intrigue to the decision-making process, especially in a week when his wife, Belle, stirred controversy on social media by seemingly airing grievances about the club.
When probed about his rationale for this decision, Pochettino’s response was steeped in perplexity. He remarked, “Erm… why the question? I am professional. I am a coach, and I always pick my players based on performance and balance, and I think I understand the question, but I want to be calm because I need to be professional. I am always professional and I am going to make the decision on the professional side.”
In a follow-up attempt to seek clarity, the interviewer inquired if the professional aspect was the sole determinant, to which the manager bluntly affirmed, “My answer was clear, no?”
Silva’s wife, Belle, extended an apology for her statement, attempting to diffuse the tension caused by her social media post. Nevertheless, reports indicated that the incident had irked certain individuals within the club.
As the spotlight shifts to Silva’s future within the team, the challenge of reclaiming a starting role looms large. The defensive duo of Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile delivered a stellar performance in the recent game, potentially complicating Silva’s path back into the starting lineup. The intricacies of Pochettino’s selection process now unfold, adding an extra layer of suspense to the tactical chessboard.