Mauricio Pochettino believes that forwards now have an easier time in their offensive endeavours thanks to VAR, as he prepares Chelsea’s attempts to keep Erling Haaland off of the scoresheet at Stamford Bridge. The Norwegian international has made life in the Premier League look easy and scored 52 goals in his first term with Manchester City, and has already netted 15 goals in 17 appearances in 2023/24.
Only City, Liverpool and Arsenal have conceded fewer goals than Chelsea in the Premier League. Despite some pivotal errors that have led to goals, Pochettino will be hoping to equip his side with all the tools to deny Haaland at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The 51-year-old head coach is no stranger to taking on the world’s top forwards both in management and during his playing career. In 1997, Pochettino was part of the Espanyol side that kept a clean sheet against Barcelona and a Ronaldo who scored 34 goals that season.
The former central-defender was quick to acknowledge his success was born out of nefarious means however. Simply put, he believes the Brazilian legend would be unstoppable if he had more protection.
Pochettino said: “And today, it’s impossible with VAR to stop Ronaldo. It’s difficult for the defensive line for the defender to stop the player. Before we were naughty, we were, you know, yes. You know, the camera IS there and you can, you know, use different strategies. I don’t say it was easy but now it’s really difficult to be a defender.”
He added: It’s easier for the offensive player like Haaland or like Ronaldo now to be successful because of the advantage of VAR. The defender is always cautious to not foul, not take from the shirt but before it was like a war, it was a battle in every single action.
When setting out the task to keep Haaland quiet, it certainly appears formidable. The Blues boss will have a big role to play in preparing his backline.
Pochettino explained: “You need to run faster, concentrate, focus and try to anticipate him. You have to be clear in how you are going to defend in the box because he is tall. You need to jump before him. You need to teach people things but you also need them to feel really good. You have to give them good tools, before we used good tools and not-so-good tools to stop the offensive players.”....CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>