Pochettino sends message to Mykhailo Mudryk after poor display in Chelsea defeat

Mauricio Pochettino has defended Mykhailo Mudryk after another difficult display in a Chelsea shirt and insists the £88.5million signing will eventually come good.

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The Ukraine international was introduced at half-time against West Ham on Sunday after Carney Chukwuemeka was forced off with a knee injury sustained just before the break, with the teenager having earlier cancelled out Nayef Aguerd’s opener.

Chelsea dominated the contest – also missing a first-half penalty – and created plenty of good opportunities to take the lead, but they were undone on the break as Michail Antonio put the hosts back in front shortly after the restart.

Aguerd’s dismissal in the 67th minute increased Chelsea’s stranglehold on the match but they could not find a breakthrough, before Lucas Paqueta converted a late spot-kick conceded by debutant Moises Caicedo to seal a 3-1 win.

Mudryk, who is still waiting for his first Chelsea goal, struggled to influence the contest and had just 28 touches – as many as goalkeeper Robert Sanchez – while he horribly scuffed a close-range volley attempt so badly that it landed outside the box.

The 22-year-old has struggled to live up to his enormous price tag since moving to Stamford Bridge but Pochettino still has faith in the young winger and feels he is still adapting to the club.

Asked what is going wrong for Mudryk, and what he made of his performance, Pochettino replied: ‘Well I think he needs to be more in the spirit to score.

‘But normally, today he played 45 minutes, he needs to have continuity. But first of all he needs to build his continuity and trust during the trainings during the week.

‘He’s a young player that needs to be trusted, we need to trust in him to create this relationship with us and with the team.

‘He has enormous quality and talent, I think it’s only [a matter of] time for him to settle better in the team and for sure he will find the way to perform in the way that we expect.’

Chukwuemeka, meanwhile, will need to be assessed in the coming days: ‘With Carney we need to assess him,’ said the Chelsea boss. ‘We’ll see tomorrow the assessment from the doctors and hope it is not a big issue, but we need to wait.’

On Caicedo’s performance, he added: ‘I think when we took the decision to play with him in the last 30 minutes I think it was because he was ready to play 30 minutes. Maybe he wasn’t ready to play from the beginning, but 30 minutes yes.

‘He did well. Very positive things. Only in the last minute OK we conceded a goal, but we cannot say nothing wrong. I think his impact was positive and we feel disappointed, he feels disappointed, all feel disappointed because I think we deserved more but in the end we didn’t get the result that we wanted.’

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