Mauricio Pochettino expresses his opinion on Reece James amidst doubts about his suitability for the Chelsea captaincy

Mauricio Pochettino expresses his opinion on Reece James amidst doubts about his suitability for the Chelsea captaincy

Mauricio Pochettino has defended Reece James after the Chelsea captain came under criticism following his red card in the defeat against Newcastle last weekend. The Argentine made it clear that James is still building towards full fitness and blamed fatigue for his decision to haul down Anthony Gordon – resulting in his second yellow card against the Magpies.

The 24-year-old apologised for being sent off against Newcastle with a message on Instagram. “I take full responsibility for my red card today, two silly mistakes. Another lesson for me to learn,” the Chelsea captain wrote in a post on Instagram.

“I’d like to apologise to the fans and my teammates. The performance today was far below our standards but this game does not define us!

“We’ve made huge improvements this season against many top teams. We’ll be back next weekend.”

Speaking ahead of the clash against Brighton this weekend, Pochettino said: “Yes, of course. It’s part of the process also. Too many times he was injured but now step by step, he is building.

“I think he was a little bit tired in the moment when he got the second yellow card. And of course, he realises he is still far away from his best condition, to complete 90 minutes – he is working really hard.

“He feels sorry about the situation because it was tough for him and it was tough for the team, but it is always good when the player takes responsibility. He is doing really well.

“It’s a thing that can happen in football. It’s good when you realise because then you can learn for the future.”

Former Liverpool player Mark Lawrenson believes veteran defender Thiago Silva should be named Chelsea captain, instead of James, slamming the England international’s red card as a ‘stupid decision’. Speaking to Paddy Power, Lawrenson said: “I don’t know why Thiago Silva is not captain [of Chelsea], because he plays nearly every game and doesn’t really get injured.

“The thing about Reece James is that he misses lots of games. I can see what Pochettino has done, but you need to be playing every single week and show people why you deserve to be captain.

“Thiago Silva would’ve done it more easily with all that experience, and maybe let James get on with his game, and not think about being captain. Maybe that’s why he made a stupid decision against Newcastle to get a second yellow, he’s overthinking it a bit too much.”

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