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Pochettino Urges Chelsea To Use FA Cup As Route Into Europe

Mauricio Pochettino has urged Chelsea, facing inconsistency, to view the FA Cup as a potential path to European competition, as they gear up for their third-round clash against Preston this Saturday.

With Pochettino’s team currently trailing by 11 points from securing fifth place in the Premier League, their chances of qualifying for the Champions League or Europa League appear challenging.

Recognizing Chelsea’s turbulent start to the season, Pochettino sees the FA Cup as a possible source of relief and opportunity.

Acknowledging the significance of winning the FA Cup and earning a Europa League spot in May, Pochettino emphasized the importance of also aiming for a Europa Conference League berth through success in the League Cup.

Pochettino’s team is set to take on Middlesbrough in the League Cup semi-final, commencing with the first leg on Tuesday, followed by the second leg scheduled for January 23.

“Of course (we can win the FA Cup),” Pochettino said on Friday. “The Carabao (League) Cup and the FA Cup are competitions we need to try to go far in.

“But we need to build our run step by step and the first step is Saturday. It’s a really important competition for us, because we are not in Europe.

“In the Premier League, we are in a position that we need to grow and improve a lot if we want to be in Europe next season. Through the FA Cup or League Cup we can achieve that.”

In consideration of aiming for an extended FA Cup journey, Pochettino assured that the Chelsea lineup won’t undergo significant alterations from the team that secured a 3-2 victory against Luton in their recent Premier League match.

He suggested the potential inclusion of striker Armando Broja in the starting lineup, noting that Christopher Nkunku might be fit enough for a spot on the bench, while Senegal’s Nicolas Jackson has departed for the Africa Cup of Nations.

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