Soccer-Under-pressure Pochettino puts brave face on FA Cup defeat

Soccer Football - FA Cup - Semi Final - Manchester City v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - April 20, 2024 Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino reacts REUTERS/David Klein

LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino is keen to get a disappointing season over and start afresh after losing the FA Cup semi-final 1-0 to Manchester City on Saturday and with it his side's last hopes of silverware.

The Argentine, who took over at Stamford Bridge nearly a year ago, lost the final of the League Cup two months ago and has failed to bring his team out of mid-table obscurity in the Premier League.

His comments on Saturday were brief as he tried to put a brave face on the latest failure, asserting that his young side had performed well against one of the best teams in Europe.

"Today we competed well. I cannot say we were the better side because that is difficult to measure. The most important thing is we competed," he told reporters.

"We need to take positives from the game. This group needs these types of moments from games to improve," he said.

Chelsea, who have bought a slew of expensive players over the last two seasons since their takeover by a consortium led by American Todd Boehly, have been inconsistent this season and underperformed.

After scoring six goals without conceding last Monday in the Premier League against Everton, they missed a host of opportunities against a City side hurting following their Champions League midweek defeat by Real Madrid.

"Now is a time to finish the season in the best way and then talk about how we can be better," Pochettino said.

The club and its fans have become used to success over the last 20 years. Under Roman Abramovich's previous ownership, Chelsea won three Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies as well as five FA Cups.

But Pochettino said: "We need to assess the team in a different way and not compare to the history of Chelsea."With a positive spin he added that he felt his team's progress was good.

"But we need to be ambitious and think how we can improve."

(Reporting by Clare Lovell, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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