Soccer-Chelsea manager Pochettino fumes over penalty-taker mayhem


Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Everton - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - April 15, 2024 Chelsea's Nicolas Jackson clashes with Noni Madueke as Conor Gallagher intervenes and Cole Palmer prepares to take the penalty Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino should have been beaming after his team destroyed Everton 6-0 on Monday but rather than celebrating Cole Palmer’s remarkable four-goal display he instead fumed about his players arguing on the pitch.

Chelsea were leading 4-0 after Palmer's first-half hat-trick and a goal for Nicolas Jackson when they were awarded a penalty after Noni Madueke was tripped in the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.

Madueke and Jackson then wrestled each other for the ball as the referee awaited a VAR confirmation, with regular taker Palmer standing bemused alongside them.

Eventually captain Conor Gallagher had to intervene to shove the pair away, grab the ball and give it to Palmer, who duly despatched it to make it nine out of nine from the spot in the Premier League.

"The players know that the taker is Palmer. I am so, so upset about the situation,” Pochettino told reporters. “The image we sent to every single country watching – I want to apologise.

"You cannot behave like this and to have to talk about it after such an unbelievable game is a shame. Players need to show that they are hungry to score but not in this type of situation. I won’t accept this again. I promise that."

Pochettino praised Gallagher for his intervention and left the players involved in no doubt that they are on thin ice.

"Sometimes for young players the personal things are ahead of the team but they need to know they need to perform for the team and learn quick," he said.

"These are the type of things we take into account for next season. If they don’t learn then yes, we’ll take some decisions.

"When you ask me about why we have no consistency or are not performing sometimes it is because of the standards and they need to learn quick because the demand is so high."

When he did eventually get around to discussing Palmer, the Argentine seemed to feel that the midfielder's incredible night, and season, was almost to be expected.

"He was a player always with the capacity to score when at Manchester City but I think the way he has adapted himself is fantastic," he said as Palmer moved alongside Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League scoring charts on 20.

"He is amazing for the team, for him and he is showing that the club made the right decision in signing him.

"Overall I am happy with the performance. We showed a different approach than against Sheffield United, we improved in different areas and today was the perfect game."

Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw at bottom club Sheffield United on Sunday after conceding a goal in added time.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris)

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