Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has voiced his support for a fans’ group that is urging the Premier League to reconsider scheduling the Blues’ match against Wolves on Christmas Eve. This decision marks the first English top-flight fixture on December 24 since 1995, and has been strongly criticized by the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust as “totally unacceptable.”
Pochettino himself has personal reasons for objecting to the scheduling, as Argentines celebrate Christmas on the night of the 24th, and it also happens to be his wedding anniversary. In his statement on Friday, Pochettino expressed his own dissatisfaction, stating, “Our fans are not happy? Me neither. The 23rd is my anniversary with my wife and now I need to travel to Wolves. I believe I am not going to convince her to come. The 24th for Argentine people is a really important night and I hope to arrive home in time to celebrate after. But if our fans are not happy, I am not happy also. (The decision) is not easy to change, but we need to accept we are in England and it’s different from the rest of the world. I need to adapt myself. But even if I’m not happy, I need to do my best to perform at my highest level and acknowledge that this is a situation we cannot change.”
Despite a slow start to Pochettino’s tenure, Chelsea has recently shown signs of improvement with a four-game unbeaten streak. Their prospects could be further enhanced with the return of £52 million ($63 million) forward Christopher Nkunku next month. Unfortunately, Nkunku has yet to play a competitive match for the club due to a knee injury sustained during pre-season. However, Pochettino remains optimistic about his imminent return, stating, “He’s doing really well, working hard, and I think he’s really close. As soon as possible, we can have him involved again. After the next internationals, maybe he could be involved… He’s a player that when you see the goals he scored last season, [you see] he provides goals, and I think we’re missing goals. That’s why we think he’s a player that can be important for us. He’s proved he can score goals in the Bundesliga. If today we had eight or ten goals from Nkunku, maybe the situation in the league would be completely different.”
Pochettino’s dissatisfaction with the Christmas Eve fixture and his support for the fans’ group’s call for change reflect a shared sentiment within the Chelsea community. Despite these challenges, the team remains focused on their recent positive streak and eagerly anticipates the return of Christopher Nkunku to boost their offensive capabilities.