Pochettino says Chelsea have started to 'click' ahead of League Cup final

LONDON: Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea have started to "click" in recent weeks after a poor start to the season as he prepares his team to take on injury-hit Liverpool in Sunday's League Cup final.

The Argentine has struggled in his first campaign in charge of the London club, who are languishing in 10th spot in the Premier League table despite lavish spending under their new owners.

But Chelsea have shown signs of progress in the past few weeks, beating Aston Villa in the FA Cup before a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace and a battling draw against Manchester City in the Premier League.

Pochettino, who failed to win a trophy in his first managerial spell in England with Tottenham, said those results had given his team confidence as they prepare to face Jurgen Klopp's men at Wembley.

"The team has started to be awake... it was a click to change in the way to compete that we were missing in the first part of the season," he told his pre-match press conference on Friday.

"Liverpool is a very competitive team and they can play well, so well, very good, not so good but they are always competitive and we need to match that competitiveness," he added.

"We need to be competitive, we need really to manage some moments during the games and I think in the last few weeks we were learning a lot, I think we have taken a step up and we arrive in a very good moment, we arrive in a good condition."

The Chelsea boss said a number of factors had played a part in the good recent run following a painful 4-1 defeat at Liverpool in late January that was followed by a 4-2 home loss against Wolves.

"Always young teams need time to be more mature and improve in different areas but it's not only in our mentality," added the 51-year-old, who must break a sequence of five straight domestic final defeats for Chelsea.

"When we talk about playing football or competing it is in these whole areas that you need to improve and I think now the team is improving and maybe we have a chance to be more consistent in the way that we compete. In the last three games I think the team competed really well."

The Chelsea boss said the recent Liverpool defeat had been a wake-up call for his struggling team.

"Maybe that was good for us to feel the pain, negative situation against us to be stronger now and to find the way to compete better and to start to see that we need to live in a different way the spirit of the team," he added.

"You can see that now the team when they are on the pitch before the start of the game they are all together, they talk, the communication is much better." --AFP

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