Chelsea have obvious Mudryk problem to fix for Pochettino to unlock £88m ace

Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea need to take their chances.

Chelsea have not had the most encouraging start to life under Mauricio Pochettino despite their huge summer expenditure to bring in 11 new players, and the Blues boss will be under pressure to find solutions to their issues. One of the major talking points has been the use – or lack thereof – of Mykhaylo Mudryk, with the Ukrainian winger going from an exciting £88million signing to bench warmer and impact substitute in just eight months at Stamford Bridge.

Mudryk himself declared that Chelsea fans have only seen ’20 per cent’ of what he can do, and that will be a relief for Blues fans, who have been hugely underwhelmed with his contributions so far after arriving in January from Shakhtar Donetsk.

A flash in the pan and one or two mazy dribbles a game is simply not enough to warrant a starting spot in the Chelsea team. But some might argue the 22-year-old has been done a disservice by his manager after impressing in pre-season, only to be left out in favour of underperforming players.

With very little rest from playing at the Under-21 European Championships, Mudryk was brought in for a 45-minute cameo in the 4-3 win over Brighton in the USA and he caught the eye with a stunning finish – his first in blue colours – to generate some excitement amongst the fanbase.

When Mudryk cut in from the left, exchanged a delightful one-two with Nicolas Jackson and thumped a bouncing volley beyond Jason Steele, it gave a promising preview of what might be in store for Chelsea fans in 2023-24. However, some four games into the new season, he only has three brief substitute appearances and 67 minutes of Premier League football to his name under Pochettino.

Considering the injuries to Christopher Nkunku and more recently, Carney Chukwuemeka, it is a little surprising that Mudryk hasn’t been drafted in as a starter for the Argentine yet. After all, he has spoke glowingly about his attitude and his potential, but when given the opportunity to help aid his development, he hasn’t taken it.

Pochettino jumped to his defence after Mudryk was criticised for his cameo from the bench against West Ham, saying: “I think he needs to be more in the spirit to score.

“But today he played 45 minutes, he needs to have continuity. But first of all he needs to build his continuity and trust during the trainings during the week.”

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It seems he is already aware of the problem of Mudryk needing more games and minutes, yet hewas also left out of their unconvincing 2-1 Carabao Cup victory over AFC Wimbledon, when a start and a goal or two might have been the kickstart he needed to alleviate the pressure on himself.

Instead, Pochettino has opted to start Ben Chilwell as a left winger and use Levi Colwill at left-back. Quite simply, neither player has looked remotely comfortable playing there, and it begs the question as to why the 51-year-old is unwilling to deploy Mudryk – a natural left-sided winger – in that position.

He has shown in patches what he can do when given a run of games, and provided two assists last season for Chelsea, as well as scoring against Leicester before it was chalked off for a marginal offside.

Other big-money signings such as Manchester United’s Antony and Kai Havertz at Arsenal have been afforded starting places when they haven’t been in form, and Mudryk might be wondering why he isn’t afforded the same treatment.

Mudryk and Ukraine are England’s opponents at the Stadion Miejski Wroclaw in Poland on Saturday and with a starting berth likely, there is no doubt the former Shakhtar winger will be itching to prove to Pochettino what he can do ahead of their next match against Bournemouth on September 17.

And after just one win against minnows Luton so far for the Argentine, he may have little choice but to give him a chance if he produces a dazzling display against the Three Lions.

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