Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea can have no argument against Malo Gusto’s red card against Aston Villa despite adamance from fans that it was a harsh decision.
The right-back’s one-footed lunge on Lucas Digne was originally judged to be a yellow card offence by Jarred Gillett but VAR intervened to suggest it was more malicious than that.
There was definitely a momentum swing after the red card but Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling really should’ve wrapped up the game before it had even gotten to that point.
With that in mind, Pochettino exaggerated post-match that no excuses should be in order with the narrow 1-0 defeat instead down to a lack of clinical touch.
“I cannot say it wasn’t a red card. We need to trust in the referees and the VAR,” Pochettino said when asked about the game-changing decision to send Gusto down the tunnel.
“We need to accept that. It’s difficult. We cannot blame the VAR or the referee, it is our responsibility and the player’s responsibility,” the manager went on to say.
As well as the red, Ollie Watkins’ goal and a string of impressive saves from Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez were the difference at Stamford Bridge. As was some misfortune, Pochettino thinks.
“We were a little bit unlucky. We block their shot and then it goes in off the post. We need to accept the reality, but it was a little bit unlucky,” the 51-year-old said.
Much like most of this season - and the majority of last - Chelsea simply couldn’t find a way through and their total of just five league goals remains.
Villa, meanwhile, are buoyant. Up to sixth after a fourth win in six matches, Unai Emery’s team are on the charge for the European spots yet again.