Chelsea: Mauricio Pochettino hails Alejandro Garnacho progress before Manchester United clash

Blues boss couldn't hide his excitement about the form of his compatriot at Old Trafford
Nizaar Kinsella2 minutes ago

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino says he is not surprised by Alejandro Garnacho’s progress at Manchester United, having followed him closely since his days in Spanish football.

In recent weeks, the 19-year-old winger has been one of the few positives for Erik ten Hag’s struggling team, scoring a stunning bicycle kick away at Everton before netting again in the Champions League against Galatasaray.

Pochettino, who spends much of his time in Barcelona when not working at Chelsea, first came across Garnacho when he was at former club Atletico Madrid.

"He is an exciting player, young and talented," Pochettino said of his compatriot, who has three senior international caps for Argentina to date.

"It’s not surprising to us because we knew about him when he was in Spain before moving to Manchester. It’s good to see a young player being brave and showing the talent that he is showing.

"He is Argentinian and Spanish. He is the opposite of me because I am Argentinian-Spanish; he is Spanish-Argentinian.

"It’s exciting because it’s good to have these type of players for the national team and I’m excited to see him on the pitch."

Alejandro Garnacho scored a goal-of-the-season contender for Manchester United away at Everton

Pochettino named both Garnacho and Marcus Rashford's speedy transitions as a danger for Chelsea when they face United on Wednesday night.

The Blues could do with piling the pressure on Ten Hag while still five points behind United in the race for European qualification.

Lesley Ugochukwu and Noni Madueke have joined a 10-man injury list, which still features Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia.

Chelsea also have the worst disciplinary record in the Premier League, having earned 47 yellow cards and three reds so far this season, with Conor Gallagher the latest to get suspended against Brighton.

And Pochettino insisted that he has tried to address the issue before the trip to Old Trafford.

“Today, we were talking in the meeting, and we showed the clips of the yellow cards,” he added.

“There are too many because they changed the rules this season. We need to be clever. You upset the player, you get a yellow card, and then in some action that can happen in the game, you can receive another yellow. We receive too many like this.

“We were talking about Nicolas Jackson, the yellow card because of complaining to the referee. The opponent made a foul and didn’t receive a yellow card.

"But you complain, 'Why is that not a yellow card?' And it’s 'Oh, yellow card for you'. We receive it like this.

"We need to be clever and improve in this area. We cannot be silly to repeat, repeat, repeat the same mistakes.”