Pochettino: How I use crossbar challenge to instil self-belief

27 Sep 2023

Ahead of EFL Cup tie against Brighton, Chelsea's head coach discusses changing his players' mentality

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Mauricio Pochettino says it will take time for his Chelsea players to regain their confidence and has revealed he is using a crossbar challenge to help improve self-belief.

Chelsea have endured a difficult start to the 2023/24 season, winning just one of their six matches since Pochettino took over, leaving them 14th in the table.

“We cannot buy confidence at the supermarket!" Pochettino told the club’s official website ahead of tonight's EFL Cup tie against Brighton & Hove Albion. "It is about time, because that is how our brains work. It is about little by little creating situations that can provide the trust and the confidence and the belief.

“I like to play hitting the crossbar from outside the box with the players, and today [Mykhailo] Mudryk was saying he didn’t want to play with me any more because I always win.

“I told him it was because I have the belief. The balance between belief and quality I know very well because I am 50 years old, and he is still young and needs to know himself. Today was the first time that we drew, because I always won.

“So I said to him, ‘Now you start to believe in yourself, now you start to believe in your quality.’ Because if there is not a good balance between belief and quality it is difficult.

"That is important, and that is one aspect of that where you work on the psychology of the player. That can make the difference and can provide the players with the confidence afterwards when they need to touch the ball and score, rather than go outside or inside."


A 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday made it a third consecutive match without a goal for Chelsea, and Pochettino is trying to sharpen his team's cutting edge.

“All that we are missing is the last touch," he said. "We are at the top in everything, the only problem is the last touch. Maybe it’s about practising more, so we will practise. Maybe it’s about staying more relaxed. There are many things which can affect it.

“Also we are Chelsea, with the pressure to win, especially after a game when you don’t win and you don’t score, so maybe it can be that.”

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