Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino produced a frosty response when asked why he had left Thiago Silva out of his starting lineup for the Blues’ FA Cup fourth-round replay at Aston Villa. It came days after the Brazilian defender’s wife took to social media to demand “change” with sack pressure mounting on the head coach.
Shortly after the final whistle blew on Chelsea’s 4-2 defeat at home to Wolves on Sunday, Silva’s wife Bella took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to write: “It’s time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late.”
She appeared to suggest that Pochettino should be sacked as the pressure continues to mount on the Argentine, who had been tipped to be sacked if Chelsea are knocked out of the competition by Villa on Wednesday evening, but since apologised for her comment.
“I’m sorry that my personal outburst as a passionate Chelsea fan has caused such an impact,” she later added. “I’m passionate about the team, I thrive on victories and I’m saddened by defeats. We all want the same thing, a winning team, come on Chelsea!!”
Pochettino decided to go with Benoit Badiashile and Axel Disasi at the heart of his defence at Villa Park, with 39-year-old Silva left on the bench. When asked about Silva being dropped, Pochettino said to ITV: “Why the question? I am a professional. I always pick my players because of performance and balance.
“And I understand the question, but I want to be calm because I aim to be professional. I am always professional. I’m going to pick the decision because of the professionalism. I say that it’s based on nothing else.”
Before rejecting the notion that he would change his team selection based on Belle Silva’s social media comments, Pochettino did reveal that Silva spoke with him to ease any potential tension between the pair. He did keep the nature of that discussion private, however.
“He came today to talk with me,” the boss said on Tuesday. “I am not going to talk in the way we were talking. The important thing is he came and wanted to talk with me.
“He knows me after more than 10 years, who I am, we are a very strong coaching staff and the way we operate. Of course he came to talk. We talked. It was private. And that’s it.”