Pochettino ‘confident’ he can get best out of Sterling

Pochettino 'confident' he can get best out of Sterling

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raheem sterling
Sterling scored six goals in 28 Premier League games for Chelsea

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is confident he can get the best out of Raheem Sterling after the forward’s difficult first campaign at the club.

It was a turbulent season at Chelsea as Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter were sacked before interim boss Frank Lampard led them 12th – their lowest league finish for more than 25 years.

Sterling scored just six league goals after a £50m move from Manchester City.

“I think he’s an important player for us. He’s in our plan,” Pochettino said.

“He can provide to the team many different things. We are confident that we can get the best from him to help the team to achieve what we want.”

Former Spurs manager Pochettino, who was appointed on a two-year deal at the end of May, started his new role on 1 July.

His squad is preparing for the new Premier League season on their pre-season tour of the United States, and beat Wrexham 5-0 in North Carolina on Wednesday.

Sterling hopes change of diet will help

Sterling was not in the last England squad that was named in May and manager Gareth Southgate said that the forward didn’t feel he was “operating at the level he needs”.

The 28-year-old adjusted his diet in the season to try to correct muscle injury and increase energy levels. However, this resulted in him building more muscle and he said he felt heavier so engaged a nutritionist to help.

“In the season I changed a bit of my diet. I went to do something a little bit different I hadn’t done before and I had a little bit more kilogrammes on me that I haven’t had before,” Sterling said.

“I think I was probably carrying a bit of extra weight, I had a few hamstring problems and probably towards the end of the season the hamstring was playing up again, and that was it; and me and the manager made a decision together to try and get the hamstring right.”

Pochettino to name new captain next month

It has been a summer of change at Chelsea and the club has parted ways with several established first-team players.

The departures have included Kai Havertz moving to Arsenal, Mateo Kovacic joining Manchester City and Mason Mount making the switch to Manchester United.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic have both joined AC Milan while club captain Cesar Azpilicueta joined Atletico Madrid on a free transfer.

Other exits have seen Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante move to the Saudi Pro League, joining Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad respectively.

France forward Christopher Nkunku, 25, arrived from RB Leipzig for £52m, 22-year-old Senegal striker Nicolas Jackson moved to Stamford Bridge from Villarreal and the club spent an undisclosed amount to sign 18-year-old Brazilian winger Angelo Gabriel from Santos.

Chelsea are still working to try to add to their squad and have had two bids rejected for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.

Those two teams face each other at the Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday in their first game of the Premier League Summer series – a pre-season tournament also featuring Aston Villa, Brentford, Fulham and Newcastle taking place across Atlanta, Harrison, Orlando, Philadelphia and Landover.

Pochettino said he will assess his squad before naming a new captain nearer to Chelsea’s first match of the new Premier League season, at home to Liverpool on Sunday, 13 August.

“I need to see the reaction, how they behave, how they react,” he said.

“It’s a time to assess everyone and see what is going on and to see who will be in the squad. It is not really important. For some people, yes. Now it is important to assess and be right in the decision.”

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