November 30, 2023

Mauricio Pochettino has hit out at Alan Shearer and his ‘dangerous’ criticism of Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson.

The Senegalese striker joined the Blues for £32million from Villarreal in the summer but is still adapting to life at Stamford Bridge.

The 22-year-old has netted just two Premier League goals in nine appearances and struggled during Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Brentford.

This prompted criticism from Shearer on Match of the Day, who had claimed Jackson was not a ‘natural goalscorer’ and said it ‘looks as if he needs a lot of help in that position’, while Pochettino also had to intervene when the striker was criticised by a Chelsea fan.

However, the Blues boss threw his support behind Jackson and suggested Shearer’s criticism was unwarranted.

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‘You need more matches to come to that (Shearer’s) opinion,’ he said ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup fourth round tie against Blackburn.

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‘If you watch the game against Liverpool, Dortmund or Luton, in different circumstances he’s a different player. It is dangerous to make this analysis on one game.

‘Nico was not at his best, but if you watch him in other games he’s one player, if you see [the] Brentford [game] he’s another player. We have to be fair with our analysis, we need to give time to him. I believe in him.’

When analysing the reasons for Chelsea’s defeat on MOTD, Shearer had pinpointed Jackson as a potential problem as he said: ‘To be more prolific you have to get yourself into scoring positions. There was a complete lack of movement from him today.

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‘Sometimes you have to make the run for the defender and for yourself. He looks very raw and at times unsure what to do.

‘He’s just waiting for something to happen, you have to do it yourself sometimes. You’ve got to work, you’ve got to make defenders work, you’ve got to try to pull them around.

‘Goalscorers don’t hang around at the edge of the box like he does. He’s got to accept that the ball comes in, it’s his job to get on the end of it.

‘They were never, ever going to score today with that. It looks as if he needs a lot of help in that position.’

Along with defending Jackson, Pochettino also insisted his side were unlucky not to win against the Bees.

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After the defeat, the Blues are now 11th despite another summer of heavy spending and the Argentine appreciated the situation they find themselves in but called on the Chelsea fans to keep backing his side.

He added: ‘We are a young team, this means too many changes in the summer and the circumstances are not for us. Sometimes [results] are good or sometimes bad.

‘Performance‑wise, we are consistent. Against Brentford at 0-0, playing well, we deserved to be one, two, three-nil up in the first half.

‘It’s frustrating for the fans, but we need the fans to tell the players: “Come on, we believe in you.” We need to understand the situation.’

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