Chelsea’s players watched clips of their yellow cards in a team meeting yesterday as Mauricio Pochettino desperately tries to rid his side of their ‘silly’ lack of discipline.
No club have had more bookings in the Premier League this season than Chelsea’s 47, nearly half of which have come from incidents other than fouls, such as kicking the ball away and showing dissent towards the referee.
The Blues lost captains Reece James and Conor Gallagher to second yellow cards in their last two games against Newcastle and Brighton.
Pochettino hopes the video nasty at their Cobham training ground will help ahead of Wednesday’s visit to Manchester United. He feels they are routinely falling foul of the referees’ stricter approach to bad behaviour this season.
‘We were talking in the meeting and showed the clips of the yellow cards,’ said the Chelsea manager, before referencing the bookings for James and Raheem Sterling in their last away game at Newcastle, for kicking the ball away.
Mauricio Pochettino has been showing his players videos of the yellow cards they have received this season in a bid to cut out silly bookings
Chelsea rank top of the Premier League for having amassed the most bookings this term – 47
Reece James was sent off for receiving a second yellow card when Chelsea met Newcastle
Your browser does not support iframes.
‘There are too many because they changed the rules.
Blues in the book! Chelsea have made 16 reckless fouls this season and have been penalised on seven occasions for dissent
‘Always if you committed a foul, and the opponent comes to take it quickly, boom, you touch. Even when you play football with your friends, that happens. It’s difficult to change. It will take time.
‘We need to be clever. We receive too many bookings like this. We were even talking about Nicolas Jackson, a yellow card he received for complaining to the referee.
‘The opponent made a foul and didn’t receive a yellow card. But you complain about why that is not a yellow card and it is a yellow card for you.
‘We need to be clever and improve in this area. We cannot be silly and repeat, repeat, repeat the same mistakes.’
Chelsea have 10 players unavailable for the trip to Old Trafford, including Gallagher after the midfielder’s dismissal for two bookings during Sunday’s 3-2 win over Brighton, but Pochettino is out to pile more misery on to United manager Erik ten Hag.
This will be the pair’s first meeting since May 2019 when Pochettino’s Tottenham beat Ten Hag’s Ajax 3-2 courtesy of a Lucas Moura hat-trick to secure a place in the Champions League final against Liverpool.
Pochettino urged his players to be ‘clever’ and claimed that his side has received too many bookings for repeating the same mistakes
Referees have been cracking down on penalizing players for dissent this season
Pochettino is sure Ten Hag will not still hold a grudge from that game. He said: ‘It was one of my best nights in football. It was tough for him. But we all move on. He has moved on and is at a great club now.
‘We always want to win. But I don’t believe something that happened four years ago is going to provide any motivation. There is nothing between us. It’s going to be nice to meet him.’
Asked if now was a good time to face United amid talk that they are a club in crisis, he added: ‘No. We are going to face a team who are going to be tough because they want to win.’
Pochettino was heavily linked with the United vacancy before Ten Hag got the job last year, though he insisted yesterday that he never entered into talks to take over at Old Trafford.