Pochettino urges struggling Chelsea players to 'believe'
Chelsea's Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in London on September 24, 2023. (Photo by Ian Kington / AFP)

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP)— Mauricio Pochettino has urged his struggling Chelsea team to keep believing in themselves but admitted they had to "fix" their crippling goalscoring problem.

The Blues, European champions just two years ago, are a lowly 14th in the Premier League table, just four points above the relegation zone, after one win in their first six matches.

Big-spending Chelsea have mustered just five goals in the league -- and three of those came in the 3-0 win against newly-promoted Luton.

But new manager Pochettino, speaking on the eve of their League Cup third-round match against Brighton, struck a positive note, saying his team were still a work in progress.

"(It is) a very short time that we are together," said the Argentine. "Realistically, we only started after the transfer window closed. Before, it was a little bit of an unstable situation."

He said injury-hit Chelsea were full of ideas and dominating games but struggling to find the net -- Raheem Sterling is the top-scorer with just two goals.

"Every single football person in this country sees Chelsea deserve more but we have missed (scoring) goals, the most important thing in football -- we cannot forget that," said the former Tottenham boss.

"We need to get criticised, of course, because we are not winning games but we need to keep being strong in the belief.

"The team is very well-organised, the effort is massive. You can see against Aston Villa (a match Chelsea lost 1-0) how the players fight with 10 men."

He added: "We are playing well, it's only we are not clinical in front of the goal. That is what we need to fix and try to give more confidence to our offensive players."

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