Mauricio Pochettino reveals crunch talks with Marc Cucurella to reintegrate Chelsea outcast

Mauricio Pochettino reveals crunch talks with Marc Cucurella to reintegrate Chelsea outcast

Mauricio Pochettino held talks with Marc Cucurella in a bid to find a way past the Chelsea defender’s failed move to Manchester United on deadline day.

Cucurella, 25, was close to a move to Old Trafford before Chelsea’s decision to play him in the Carabao Cup, thus preventing him from appearing for a potential third team later in the season, led to the deal collapsing.

On Monday night, he could make his first league start away at Fulham and, after an impressive display in the 1-0 cup win against Brighton last Wednesday, could end up establishing himself at left-back during Ben Chilwell’s injury absence.

Asked about whether Cucurella was considered surplus to requirements, Pochettino insisted: “I don’t know because I wasn’t involved in this situation, that was more the sporting director, the [player’s] agent and the club.”

However, since his return, Pochettino has sought out the Spain international about re-establishing himself after a difficult first season following his £62million move from Brighton.

“After, when the transfer window closed, we were talking in my office,” he added.

“We were really clear about how I see and assess him and I listened to his feelings. Of course, it was a difficult time for him after he arrived from Brighton. It was tough, not only for him, but many, many players.

“That’s why we need to give confidence and trust in him. He is our player and I think he was really good against Brighton on Wednesday playing on the right-hand side.

“I think he was doing well and I am so happy about his performance and commitment. That’s what we expect from our players.

“Now, it is about working, waiting for the opportunity and working really hard. It is a really clear situation, he is in our plan. If he deserves to play, he will play.”

Meanwhile, Mykhailo Mudryk has started all three matches since the international break with 10 players unavailable once again on Monday through either injury or suspension.

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Pochettino is keen to help his winger, who also struggled last season and remains without a goal at Chelsea, to realise his potential.

“He is quite unique,” the manager added. “I think it is a good challenge for him and for [the coaching staff].

“Misha is a very talented player but you need to go with him very slowly. [It’s] cultural and everything is completely different to [how we] Latin people [are].

“He is now trying to be more open and trying to adapt and be more involved in every single situation, not only on the field, off the field also and he is making a massive effort to try and integrate himself and understand better what it means to play like a team.”