The Chelsea coach reveals his strategy to keep his secret weapon prepared for action

The Chelsea coach reveals his strategy to keep his secret weapon prepared for action

Mauricio Pochettino was not exactly glowing after last night’s performance – how could he be? His team struggled to create against a Championship team, and their issues from the league carried over, even though they did get a positive result in the end.

The Argentine coach is an optimist by nature, and in the end he was able to pick out plenty of positives. None was greater than the return of Reece James, out injured since the first game of the season, who played an hour and looked like he had never been away.

“But there were many positive things too. It was important to stay in and go through in this competition that is important for us, building confidence. Players like Benoit Badiashile and Reece James had the opportunity to play one hour. That was important. I was talking to my staff and saying it looked like a pre-season game in November, because of this situation and players coming into the team,” the coach said in quotes on the club’s official website.

“We were talking [to James] throughout the game. The plan was to check at half-time how he felt and was. After the 50th minute he started to feel tired and we were checking in the second half. He was a little bit tired and we needed to be careful how we managed him.

“At that moment we decided to change and protect him. It is important we are careful not to go back to play 90 minutes and take some risks. We cannot avoid 100 per cent the risk but the plan is to go in little by little.”

So far, Pochettino has only been able to pick James in one competitive game before this one, and he will feel that a key part of his arsenal is now returning.

It will be very interesting to see how James is deployed in the weeks to come, and if that can help our attacking issues.

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