‘They behave like kids’: Mauricio Pochettino furious as Chelsea players row over penalty

Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson wanted to take the penalty ahead of Cole Palmer as the bust-up overshadowed the 6-0 win over Everton

Jamie Braidwood
Tuesday 16 April 2024 07:24 BST
Pochettino ‘so upset’ with Chelsea stars over penalty bust-up despite huge win

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino was left “so upset” after his players argued over penalty-taking duties during the 6-0 win over Everton on Monday night, in scenes he branded “unacceptable”.

Chelsea were four goals up - with Cole Palmer scoring a first-half hat-trick at Stamford Bridge- when Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke sparked the unsavoury incidents as they started pushing and shoving over who should take the penalty.

Palmer, the club’s appointed penalty taker who had scored eight out of eight in the Premier League this season, finally took the ball after captain Conor Gallagher intervened, but Jackson and Madueke were furious.

Chelsea’s 6-0 win was their best result of a difficult season but the victory was overshadowed by the incident, and led to a seething Pochettino issuing an apology to the Chelsea fans.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports that the argument was “daft” - while Dele Alli added on Monday Night Football that the players were “showing their age”.

Palmer, however, said the players were “laughing and joking” about the argument after full-time, but Pochettino was not pleased.

Cole Palmer took and scored the penalty after Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke clashed (Getty Images)

“The players know, the club knows that Palmer is the penalty-taker,” said Pochettino. “I’m so, so upset about the situation. In every country people are watching the game and we cannot send this type of image.

“I want to apologise to our fans. Discipline is the most important thing for the team. It’s a collective sport. I’m not going to accept this type of behaviour. I’m going to be very strong. I promise it’s not going to happen again.

"It is a shame. We cannot behave in this way, I told them ‘this is the last time of this behaviour’.

"It is impossible to have this type of behaviour after this performance. If we want to be a great team, we need to change and think in a collective way.

"It’s a process for a young team who need to learn a lot. I was talking about this to the players after the game. It’s the last time I want to see something like this. I want to apologise to the fans.

"We need to make clear next time that happens. They need to learn and be professional. We need to be focused on the collective. They knew it was Cole. Cole is the taker. It’s a clear example that it’s a process we still need to learn."

Pochettino said there would not be punishments for Madueke or Jackson, explaining they were “young guys”.

“We don’t talk about punishment,” said Pochettino. “It’s about learning. They are young guys. It was very good the reaction of Gallagher like a captain. But you cannot show that type of behaviour.

“The discipline is going to be stronger. If they behave like kids, it’s impossible. You cannot behave like kids. It’s a shame, it’s an unacceptable thing. We don’t deserve to be talking about this.”

Palmer scored the penalty for his fourth of the game and downplayed the argument after his second hat-trick in a month at Stamford Bridge.

"Other players wanted to take it, which is understandable because it’s 4-0," the 21-year-old told Sky Sports. "But I’m the penalty taker and I wanted to take so in the end, I took it.

"We’re trying to show that everyone wants to take responsibility, maybe it was a bit over the top with the argument and stuff but everyone wants to help. It was nothing major, we were laughing and joking about it. The gaffer has told us now."

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