Pochettino turns on Chelsea stars with ‘non-negotiable’ demand ahead of Everton

Mauricio Pochettino has cracked the whip at Chelsea – warning his sleepwalking stars that he won’t tolerate “unacceptable” standards.

The Argentine remains incensed by the lack of commitment and desire on display during recent away defeats at Newcastle and Manchester United – now he is commanding change.

“We lay out the strategy. Then, if you are at Chelsea, one natural thing that you need to have is the fire,” Pochettino said.

“If not, we are going to struggle all season.

“We need to show that we care, to show that we are going to be ready to fight. That is non-negotiable.

“Football is about a lot of things but we need to start with this.”

Everton certainly won’t be short of spirit as their devastating 10-point deduction has breathed new life into Sean Dyche’s determined and dogged side.

Remarkably, Everton would now be above Chelsea in the table had they not been punished for breaching the Premier League’s financial rules.

And the Toffees will be relishing the chance to inflict further misery on the faltering Blues after taking Newcastle to the cleaners on Thursday night at Goodison Park.

Meanwhile, Pochettino sees no excuse in the fact his side are statistically the third-youngest team in the Premier League as they must start to find motivation from within.

“We started really sloppy and too flat against Newcastle. Also against Manchester United,” he added.

“Come on! Okay, we are a young team, in the process of building.

“There can be a lack of understanding of concepts or a need to improve in our build-up or positioning. Those things can grow in time.

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“But going there to run and to fight and to match them in our will – the areas you need to match all the teams – not doing that is unacceptable. We need to work on this.”

Despite his frustrations, Pochettino is reluctant to persistently lambast his fresh-faced squad in fear it may shatter the confidence of his players altogether.

Instead he has previously adopted a delicate, measured approach with his analysis but now his patience is beginning to wear thin.

He added: “When the team is mature and has the experience to assimilate the situation when the coaching staff is angry, it’s not a problem.

“But we need to approach it in a different way. We are talking about 19, 20, 21 year olds with not too much experience in the Premier League.

“We always need to think about how we can affect them and the consequences. And the consequences are the most important.

“Sometimes we are like professors in a university, or not even a university, a school. Sometimes we are friends or fathers. And sometimes we are coaches that need to put demands on them to perform.

“The approach is really difficult but at the moment we are only missing the results. The process is going well.”

Christopher Nkunku is still yet to play a competitive game for Chelsea and remains unlikely to feature on Merseyside.

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