Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino wants his team to seize the chance of reaching the final of the League Cup at Wembley. Middlesbrough take a 1-0 lead into the second leg tonight at Stamford Bridge after Hayden Hackney’s winner in the first leg at the Riverside Stadium a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s possible for us to go to the final, to visit Wembley. It’s a really important game for us and we need to show that it’s really important for us, for the club, for everyone.
“We want to be in the final but first of all we need to beat a very good team. Of course it’s going to be tough. We are confident we can have a great game in front of our fans, in Stamford Bridge with all the energy they are going to bring.
“Of course we feel very disappointed after the [first leg]. When you analyse it, you see we deserved more, but football is not about ‘deserved’, it’s about being clinical, scoring goals and defending some actions close to your goal and being strong.
“We were all disappointed, but we have 90 minutes to fix the situation and try to win the tie. We need to respect the opponent. They are going to be tough. But it’s a massive chance for us to go to the final and fight for a title.”
Middlesbrough come into tonight’s game off the back of a 1-1 draw against Rotherham, which leaves them 11th in the Championship. Their January signings Finn Azaz and Luke Ayling are cup-tied whilst Riley McGree and Sam Silvera are away on international duty with Australia.
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick says he is expecting the best version of Chelsea tonight.
“We know what we’re walking into. We got a big boost from the first game, but that’s as far as it goes. We know what we’re facing and the individual quality and a team that’s well coached and collectively very strong.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, but certainly from the first game and competing against Aston Villa, the boys have handled it very well and are looking forward to doing it again.”
Chelsea will be without forward Christopher Nkunku as well as Malo Gusto, Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Romeo Lavia and Robert Sanchez.