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Mauricio Pochettino defends Chelsea’s disciplinary record

Mauricio Pochettino has defended Chelsea’s disciplinary record after Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling received one-game suspensions.

The Blues will be without two of their star players Palmer and Sterling a must-win London derby clash with Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with the pair both receiving a one-game ban after accumulating five yellow cards each.

Sterling and Palmer’s yellow cards tallies account for 10 of the Premier League-high 56 bookings shown to Chelsea players thus far during the 2023/24 season. Along with said 56 bookings, the Blues have also seen three players be sent off this campaign, with Reece James, Conor Gallagher and Malo Gusto all receiving their marching orders.

Cole Palmer, Joao Gomes, Mario Lemina

Palmer is suspended / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Speaking to the press ahead of his side’s clash with Crystal Palace, manager Pochettino has defended his team’s ill-discipline, insisting that it is due to the “pressure” felt by the players currently:

“It’s representative that we play for Chelsea, we are in a big club, you feel the pressure,” said Pochettino.

“When you are frustrated, and you don’t have maybe the experience of other teams, you make a mistake.

“Palmer is playing for us his first season as a regular. It’s normal. The players care, they want to win, they are frustrated.

“It’s not discipline. We need to have more the capacity to read the situation of the game.”

In Sterling and Palmer’s absence, summer signing Christopher Nkunku may be set to make his first ever start for Chelsea on Wednesday.

The France international has missed most of the first half of the 2023/24 season thanks to a serious knee injury suffered during pre-season, but made a cameo appearance in the Christmas Eve defeat to Wolves – scoring a late consolation goal for his new club.


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