Soccer-Chelsea performances have dropped but young squad needs time - Pochettino

Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - December 3, 2023 Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino reacts after the match REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File photo

(Reuters) - Chelsea's performance levels have dropped in recent weeks but despite the pressure the London club's young squad needs time to settle as they build for the future, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday.

Chelsea were the biggest spenders in the league in the close season but their erratic form has seen them win just five times in 15 games, with a midweek loss to Manchester United dropping the London side to 10th.

"Every single player knows what we expect from them, another thing is to deliver the job, another thing is to perform. We need to improve with time," Pochettino told reporters ahead of Sunday's game at Everton.

"For different reasons, we are not getting what we want, I think we deserve much more from the beginning of the season, but the last few weeks we've dropped our performance, I am fair and realistic.

"We need to start to perform better again. After (the win over) Brighton, the feelings were different, after Manchester (United) we cannot go from zero to 100, 100 to zero. This type of period is normal, it is tough because we are Chelsea."

With several young players in the Chelsea squad, many playing in the Premier League for the first time, Pochettino is having a tough time balancing priorities and expectations.

"How can players improve at the pace that everyone wants if the culture is to win and the priority is to settle, belong, create different things, and then perform and win games?" he said.

"When we talk about young players they need to be in a place to feel comfortable and feel the confidence. We cannot forget we are at Chelsea where the pressure is massive.

"We know what we need to do. It is a matter of time, sometimes it is six months, one year or four months. I think we are sure, we are building something that will pay off."

Everton have turned their season around with three wins from four games to climb out of the relegation zone and up to 17th despite a 10-point penalty and Pochettino praised his counterpart Sean Dyche.

"I know Sean Dyche really well and what he achieved with Burnley," the Argentine said.

"The feeling they have is that they were treated unfairly and they feel freedom and nothing to lose, but also they have good players and Sean is doing a great job.

"Massive victory for them against Newcastle (on Thursday) and they will be motivated to face us."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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