Chelsea boss Pochettino gets Sterling transfer intervention with telling verdict
Chelsea star Raheem Sterling has backed his striking partner Nicolas Jackson to continue scoring after sending a cryptic message to his boss Mauricio Pochettino. In the wake of Chelsea’s victory over Tottenham, the experienced forward felt compelled to speak out about Jackson after the striker had come under fire in recent weeks, prompting speculation that the Blues could move for another forward in January. But Sterling’s comments may convince Pochettino to give him more time.
The 28-year-old was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet himself against Spurs after watching his goal get chalked off due to an accidental handball in the build-up. Still, he played an instrumental role in helping the Blues record their biggest victory over their London rivals since a 4-0 hammering back in March 2014.
Sterling supplied an assist for Jackson to score as the Senegalese international bagged his first hat-trick for the club in the 4-1 win over Tottenham. It was almost identical to one of the two goals Jackson scored in the 3-0 win over Luton earlier this season, with Sterling breaking free down the right and crossing low for the 22-year-old to tap home.
The £32million signing from Villarreal also showed tremendous composure in front of goal to pull off a shimmy when one on one with Guglielmo Vicario, leaving the Spurs goalkeeper helpless on the floor, as he tucked home his third of the night.
It proved to be a remarkable turnaround from the first half, where Jackson was slow to react to chances and had an effort saved by Vicario when he should have found the back of the net. But former Manchester City star Sterling believes the onus is not just on Jackson to deliver, but also himself too, and says the whole team need to work together to make more clear-cut chances for their striker to put away.
“To score goals it’s a collective, I don’t think it’s on individuals,” Sterling told Stadium Astro. “Of course, individuals have to take their opportunities but I feel like us as a team we have to try and be in positions to make opportunities easier.
“Me myself, to try and bring the ball into position to try and create and we see him in training, we know what he’s capable of. Personally, I think he just needs to focus on giving everything like he has been, and the goals will flow.”
That message of support will be welcomed by Jackson, who admitted after the game he still needs to improve after scoring three goals in 10 games prior to his treble at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But also for Pochettino, who may feel there is less urgency to draw up a shortlist for alternative strikers if Jackson continues scoring on a regular basis.
The Argentinian has reportedly considered bringing in a striker with a different profile, with Ollie Watkins, Ivan Toney and Santiago Gimenez all linked in recent months. But Sterling clearly believes Chelsea can save their money just by putting their faith in Jackson.
There is also the return of Christopher Nkunku to come, with the Frenchman targeting a return to action in the coming weeks. And with that, there may well be more reasons now for Pochettino to stick with the status quo rather than turn to the transfer market in January.
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