Source: BBC Sport
MAURICIO Pochettino believes Chelsea can win the Carabao Cup after his side beat Blackburn Rovers to set up a home quarter-final against Newcastle.
Goals from Benoit Badiashile and Raheem Sterling were enough to beat the Championship side at Stamford Bridge, as they won for the first time at home since a third-round victory against Brighton in late September.
“We need to think that it is an important competition for us” manager Pochettino said.
“We are not in Europe. That should be an opportunity for us like the Premier League and like in January we will start the FA Cup. Of course, we need to think we that we can win this competition.”
French centre-back Badiashile, making his first start for Chelsea since May, opened the scoring on the half-hour mark after Rovers keeper Leopold Wahlstedt palmed Conor Gallagher’s cross from a short corner straight to him inside the area.
Sterling doubled the lead with nearly an hour gone when he ran on to Cole Palmer’s interception and curled the ball into the far corner.
Blackburn’s best chance came in the final moments, when substitute Arnor Sigurdsson was played through but denied by a fine Robert Sanchez save.
Chelsea have struggled in the Premier League this season, sitting 11th in the table with just three wins from 10 games, but their Carabao Cup performances have been a positive and moving one step closer to some silverware will be a timely boost for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
The sight of Reece James flying down the right as part of Chelsea’s attack is something supporters at Stamford Bridge have missed for most of this season.
The Chelsea captain was making his first start since the opening day of the Premier League season and was constantly threatening against Blackburn, having a good chance to open the scoring saved after an excellent pass by Enzo Fernandez
He was substituted after an hour but the minutes under his belt will give him a good chance of starting away at Tottenham in the Premier League on Monday.
“He’s an important player for us. He’s an amazing player, for me one of the best full-back in the world,” Pochettino said.
“The temptation is ‘Ok, come on go and play 90 minutes’ but we need to be careful. Little by little he is going to get fit and cope with the demand of the games.”
Badiashile, a £35m January signing from Monaco, was in the treatment room before Pochettino arrived at the club and his performance on his return will have been a big positive for the Chelsea manager.
The 22-year-old put in a solid display before being withdrawn along with James, looking assured next to former Monaco team-mate Axel Disasi.
The goal and clean sheet will be a real bonus as he looks to put a long injury absence behind him.
The next challenge on his hands will be getting into the Chelsea side ahead of Levi Colwill who is also a left-sided centre-back.
November 2, 2023 @ 8:47 GMT|