‘It’s not tennis’ – Mauricio Pochettino sends brutal warning to Mykhaylo Mudryk ahead of Wolves game

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino explained why Mykhaylo Mudryk is still not a first-team starter ahead of their Premier League clash against Wolves.

The 23-year-old Ukraine international, who joined the Blues from Shakhtar Donetsk in January last year for a reported £88.5 million, penned an eight-and-a-half year deal at Stamford Bridge.

He has shown glimpses of why Chelsea splashed such a large amount to bring him to West London, especially in pre-season, when he produced an impressieight-and-a-half-yearve display against Borussia Dortmund.

Mudryk also received a standing ovation for his performance against Brighton in the Carabao Cup but the pacey forward has, more often than not, failed to produce when given first-team opportunities.

In fact, Mudryk has only scored three Premier League goals in his Chelsea career thus far.

He was once again named on the bench ahead of the club’s league game with Wolves on Sunday – a far from surprising decision given Pochettino’s comments before kick-off.

When asked about Mudryk, who has only made nine Premier League starts this season, Pochettino said: “He started the game against Middlesbrough in the semi-final, which is one of the most important games for us.

“Yes, now he is on the bench. Look, it’s about the form during the season – if you keep your form and you are the best during every training session.

“As coaching staff, we are a meritocracy – we are going to play with the players who are going to do their best on the pitch.”

The Argentine added: “I think he’s a young guy that arrived here one year ago. We know the circumstances around [the transfer].

“Of course, he needs to improve. He has amazing quality and potential, but it’s a [team] game, it’s not tennis.

“We have players that need to perform in a group. If you see him, it’s amazing, but after, you need to adapt and play for the team – he needs to adapt, and all of that needs time.”

Image credit: Getty

Back in October, Pochettino said the Ukrainian winger is a “different person” after a difficult start to life at Chelsea.

“After three months he is not a completely different player because we are not magic but he is a different person,” he said.

“We are starting to see how lovely this guy is. He is so sensitive and smart. He is so clever. And how important it is to give confidence in life and in life to trust. When people trust they can be open and start to express their talent in football.

“Micha is doing really well in his relationships with the team, the coaching staff, the medical staff, with the club. That is a massive improvement. It is not to give him some exercises or some advice about how to move between the lines or one very one.

“That is part of his talent but the most important is that he can feel confident and happy when you play football because you need to feel connected to the game.”

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