Thiago Silva was dropped to the Chelsea bench for their FA Cup fourth round replay at Aston Villa, with Benoit Badiashile partnering Axel Disasi at centre-back
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has explained that “performance and balance” are the reasons why Thiago Silva has been dropped to the bench against Aston Villa.
Pochettino made three changes to his Chelsea side for the FA Cup fourth round replay, with Silva, Raheem Sterling and Christopher Nkunku coming out. Benoit Badiashile is included to partner Axel Disasi in central defence, with Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson recalled to the attack.
Silva’s omission comes a matter of days since his wife, Belle Silva, reacted angrily to the Blues’ 4-2 defeat against Wolves at Stamford Bridge.
She tweeted: “It’s time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late,” before later retracting those comments and issuing an apology.
In his pre-match interview, Pochettino was quizzed about the reason behind Silva’s absence from the starting XI – and it’s safe to say he provided a spiky answer. He told ITV: “I am professional, I always pick my players on performance and balance.
“I understand the question but I am to be calm because I am professional and will always make the decision based on the professional side of it.”
12 days ago, Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw against Villa during a dull affair in west London. Since that game, the Blues have suffered back-to-back Premier League losses to Liverpool and Wolves which has increased the pressure on Pochettino, who has won just 14 of his 31 matches in charge.
Speaking on the challenge Villa will possess as they eye a fifth round tie against Leeds later this month, Pochettino added: “Now we have to win every game. I understand all the situation but today is a different competition. Against a very good team.
“We are in the final of the Carabao Cup but now we need to accept that too many [bad] things happen and we need to be calm and compete today. It will be tough but we are convinced we can compete today.”
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