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Pochettino cautions players over VAR absence in FA Cup showdown


Pochettino return

Chelsea manager, Mauricio Pochettino has issued a warning to his Chelsea team as they prepare to face Middlesbrough in the League Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday without the assistance of VAR at the Riverside Stadium.

Pochettino, mindful of his squad’s reliance on VAR, urged caution, noting that his players have grown accustomed to the controversial technology. Chelsea notably featured in a contentious VAR-laden fixture against Tottenham in November.

The Chelsea manager acknowledged the need for a different approach in the absence of VAR, emphasizing the significance of referee decisions in the upcoming match.

“There’s no VAR. That is a thing we need to be careful of. Our normal attitude is to play with VAR. We need to be cautious of that,” Pochettino cautioned during a press briefing on Monday.

Acknowledging the potential pitfalls of playing without VAR, Pochettino stressed the importance of a strategic adjustment. He noted that the absence of VAR alters the dynamics of the game, and Chelsea must be clever in adapting to this change.

As Chelsea enters the League Cup semi-final as firm favorites, Pochettino urged his team not to underestimate Middlesbrough, emphasizing the need to focus on the upcoming match rather than anticipating the second leg.

“To spend all our energy is the most important thing. Tuesday is the most important game, and we need to come back afterwards with a victory and to finish at Stamford Bridge,” Pochettino remarked, cautioning against complacency.

Middlesbrough, managed by former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, faces Chelsea after a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round. Pochettino acknowledged the challenge posed by Middlesbrough, emphasizing their adaptability and the tactical prowess of their coach, making it a tough contest for Chelsea.