Mauricio Pochettino believes it was only a matter of time before players like Connor Gallagher and Enzo Fernandez showed their true class for Chelsea.
Both Chelsea midfielders scored in Wednesday night’s excellent 3-1 FA Cup fourth round replay win at in-form Aston Villa on Wednesday, which eased the pressure on Pochettino.
Gallagher, around whom there had been rumours that he might be departing the club during the January transfer window, with Chelsea willing to sell, netted a superb first goal at Villa Park, and Argentine midfielder Fernandez, an excellent free kick.
The Chelsea manager insisted: ‘It was only a matter of time. Enzo and Connor are really good players. They’re always committed to the team and the club.
‘They are so happy, they deserve to enjoy playing football. These two guys work so hard to try to perform – and I am so pleased with both of them.’
Conor Gallagher and Enzo Fernandez both scored in Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday
Mauricio Pochettino backed the Chelsea duo to continue their form heading into the weekend
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Pochettino, whose 11th placed side face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday after two straight defeats in the league, is adamant that the performance at Villa could be a turning point for his side.
The Argentine said: ‘We had some good performances, but after them we were not consistent enough.
‘Maybe this could be the starting point for us, to show this type of performance more often.
Fernandez has largely underwhelmed since completing his £107m move to the club in January last year
There were previous questions over whether Gallagher would stay at the club after January
‘We always believe the momentum is shifting and it’s the time to be consistent. We hope that it’s going to be a very good thing for us.
‘The players deserve it because they’ve been working very hard since the beginning of the season. We need to put it all together, behave in the way we behaved at Villa. There are so many things we need to continue doing now for the future.
‘The difference was with the amount of noise that was beginning before the Villa game, but the performance was really good. We realised that we had to compete in a different way.’
Chelsea will give defender Benoit Badiashile a late test on the groin problem he picked up at Villa. Thiago Silva, left on the bench for the Cup replay, could be set for a return at Palace.