Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has been left red-faced by Moises Caicedo following his second-hand story about Brighton losing to Middlesbrough last season. The Seagulls, in fact, did not lose to Michael Carrick’s side and cruised past the Championship outfit instead.
Pochettino’s side were beaten 1-0 by Boro in the EFL Cup semi-final earlier this week, with the Blues performance lacking creativity and motivation. Hayden Hackney scored the all-important goal at the Riverside Stadium, tapping home from close range after a blistering counter-attack saw Isaiah Jones reach the by-line and cut the ball back to the midfielder.
Following the defeat, Pochettino sang the praises of his side and insisted that he was pleased with the performance. And the ex-Tottenham manager has doubled down on his comments by recalling a story outlined to him by summer signing Caicedo.
Speaking on Friday, he explained: “Caicedo was telling me his Brighton lost there last season. Many Premier League teams when they play there lose. But we are still alive and will fight again to be in the final when at Stamford Bridge.”
“I think I saw the players today, very good spirit. Of course, we are disappointed with the last game, but it is the first 90 minutes. Disappointed but at the same time, we are Chelsea and we cannot afford to lose this type of game. It’s a different game [to the reverse fixture]. They are in a very good moment.
“We didn’t perform badly against Middlesbrough and we came from a few victories. We are 1-0 down, but we need to keep the belief. I think the team is feeling well and we are confident for tomorrow. I am so sure we are going to do a very good job.”
But Caicedo appears to have told a fake story, as Brighton beat Middlesbrough 5-1 last season when the two teams met in the FA Cup almost exactly 12 months ago. The Ecuador international also featured in the match, being issued a yellow card during the clash as his side cruised into the fourth round of the competition.
Pascal Gross, Adam Lallana, Alexis Mac Allister and Deniz Undav were all on the scoresheet for Brighton, with Roberto De Zerbi’s side running riot at the Riverside. Chelsea will be looking to replicate the success of their rivals when they host Boro in the second leg of their EFL Cup clash later this month, and Pochettino will be hoping that Caicedo recalls the true tactics that helped his former club to victory in preparation for the crucial match.