Chelsea v Luton Town: Pictures
Chelsea star Raheem Sterling sent a message to his former boss Graham Potter after revealing a chat with Mauricio Pochettino helped inspire him to open his account for the season against Luton Town. The Blues forward put in a stellar display, scoring twice and setting up one in a comfortable 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge to claim their first win of the season, and Sterlling made it clear Pochettino was behind his upturn in form.
The 28-year-old bagged his first goals of the season either side of the half-time interval to spearhead Pochettino towards his first Chelsea win. It comes after Sterling produced a man-of-the-match performance, despite being on the losing side, in their 3-1 defeat to West Ham last Sunday.
And the England international spoke at length about the changes made under Pochettino compared to last season under Potter, suggesting he was being played too deep to have an impact.
“I was happy, obviously I think we started half decent against Liverpool and then with the loss last week we needed to get a win here, I’m just happy to contribute with that,” Sterling told Sky Sports after the game.
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“It was a bit of frustration from last season from myself personally because I felt like I was always coming with my back to goal. A bit deep and I wasn’t giving myself enough chances to get into the box.
“I had a conversation with the gaffer earlier last week and we’ve gone through the role and I know exactly what he needs from me and it’s as simple as that, I need to get on the back foot and do what I do and drive at players and get on it and that’s when I’m most effective.
“I came in a difficult period, that’s all finished.. I think the most important thing, I’ve had a look at myself and I’m a person who always tries to analyse what I’ve been doing, what I’ve done wrong, what I can change.”
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It proved to be a more comfortable night for the west Londoners when they doubled their lead after a magnificent solo goal from Sterling in the first half.
Malo Gusto cut back to him and he swept home to double his lead, before setting up Nicolas Jackson for his first goal for the club.
Sterling came in for criticism last season after his £47.5million move from Manchester City, scoring just nine goals in all competitions. At times, he was played out of position as a wing-back to fit Potter’s back-three setup.
The ex-Brighton boss only lasted six months at the helm after overseeing a run of two wins in 16 games which saw Chelsea slide into the bottom half.
They eventually finished 12th – their worst finish in 29 years – prompting a massive rebuild under Pochettino.
The Argentinian boss was delighted with Sterling’s display after speaking to the attacker over his contributions to the team.
“We have had conversations and his commitment with the way he wants to provide for the team with work ethic and quality,” the Chelsea boss said:
“He deserves full credit for his performance and we are very pleased. We believe he can provide goals and assists and he works hard to recover the ball.”
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