Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with Chelsea’s fight as the Blues defeated Aston Villa 3-1 in their FA Cup fourth round replay.
Goals from Conor Gallagher, Nicolas Jackson and a sumptuous free-kick from Enzo Fernandez blew away Unai Emery’s side at Villa Park.
Chelsea have already reached a Carabao Cup final, but now see themselves in the last 16 of the FA Cup, and will host Championship side Leeds in the fifth round.
Pochettino was full of praise for his side, who bounced back from their 4-2 defeat at home to Wolves in the Premier League.
“I think, very pleased. First of all because the players were fantastic. They enjoyed the game against a team that is doing fantastic, that is so difficult to beat here, full of confidence”, said Pochettino.
“That is why I am really, really pleased with the performance. It provides us the capacity to really believe. I think when this type of performance happens, it is difficult to talk about the opponent because we dominated and we were the better side.
“It was key how we reacted after Wolves. The feelings that relate to me, also, to be all together. Yes, today, I really enjoyed from the touchline.”
Chelsea found themselves 2-0 up within 21 minutes against a Villa side who have been formidable at home of late. However this is a second home defeat in a row for Villa, after losing to Newcastle in the Premier League.
Chelsea were backed by a strong away following, who may feel much better about their manager after the impressive win. The pressure on Pochettino may have been eased for now.
Pochettino spoke of the fans’ influence as Chelsea responded in style.
“The fans were fantastic, with this connection, only good things can happen. We need to stop thinking we are the Chelsea from the last 20 years because we are not this Chelsea. We need to move on”, said the Chelsea boss.
“The mentality is the most important thing. What I saw today I don’t know if it was because of the last few days, us talking, but I saw the team playing free and enjoying the game.
“Players need to feel free and enjoy it. I think after the game, we have another meeting here, now, and I told them: ‘Look, it’s about to trust, the energy, how we approach the game.
“Today you can see, in the middle, before the start, we were ready to fight. We were united. We fight for each other. We fight for our fans. We fight for the badge. We fight for the coaching staff.”