Mauricio Pochettino says Mykhailo Mudryk needs to ‘understand the game better’ after the £88.5million Ukrainian again struggled in Chelsea’s goalless draw at Bournemouth.
The winger still hasn’t found the net in 21 Chelsea appearances since arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk in January on an eight-and-a-half year contract.
He was substituted for Cole Palmer in the 63rd minute at the Vitality Stadium but Chelsea wouldn’t force a breakthrough in another disappointing result.
Pochettino suggested that Mudryk is still coming up to speed with the Premier League.
‘He is improving. He still needs to learn; the Premier League is very fast, the speed of the game is so fast,’ the Chelsea manager told Sky Sports.
Mykhailo Mudryk again struggled to make an impact as Chelsea drew 0-0 at Bournemouth
Mauricio Pochettino removed the Ukrainian winger in the second-half for Cole Palmer
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‘I think it’s about understanding the game better, try to be more connected sometimes with the team.
‘We need to give the time and to give the tools for him to improve during the season.’
The Blues sit 14th in the table with just five points taken from five matches so far as they expensive-assembled players struggle to perform.
They have only scored five goals in the Premier League so far – their lowest return after five matches of a post-1992 season since 1995-96, when they’d also managed just five.
The poor form comes despite a spend on new players of over £1billion since Todd Boehly took over the club last year.
Pochettino called on the fans to have patience with new signings, pointing out that even the great Zinedine Zidane struggled at first when he joined Real Madrid.
‘At Chelsea the expectation is always massive. When you arrive at Chelsea as a player or coaching staff, the people expect to win, lift some trophies, perform and score,’ he said.
‘We now have a really young squad, players that are good investments for the club. We need to know that they are young and need to adapt and the circumstances and stay calm.
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino criticised supporters who booed his team off
Ben Chilwell held his hands up to the Chelsea supporters but was met with abuse
Pochettino’s side were disappointing as they failed to score in the 0-0 draw with Bournemouth
‘It is not fair to assess after one games, two games, three games and say he is not performing.
‘I always use the same example… Real Madrid paid 70 or 80 million for a player named Zinedine Zidane.
‘He was an amazing player but after six months, you can ask the fans at the Bernabeu and they were saying, ‘oh what have we bought?’
‘He started to perform after seven or eight months. Zinedine Zidane was 26 or 27. When you buy players who are 20 or 21 you have to be careful.
‘They are not machines. They need to settle with all the circumstances that happened in the last few months. We need to give time.’
The stalemate led to some of the travelling Chelsea fans on the south coast booing the team off on Sunday, with Pochettino keen to point out that 12 players are currently sidelined with injury.
‘If you invest money there is expectation,’ Pochettino said. ‘If you don’t win, it’s normal the fans are not happy.
Mudryk is awaiting his first Chelsea goal after 21 games following his £88.5m January move
‘But what I can tell the fans is the circumstances, we cannot change. The reality we cannot change. We have too many players [injured].
‘We are a team that will be strong if we are all together. With all the squad fit, we can compete for everything.
‘Why is it different for us? It’s because we don’t have all the squad available from the beginning of the season. What can we do?
‘For me, there’s nothing to say. The fans can do whatever they want. We know what we need to do. We are strong in our belief, but we have 12 [players] injured today.
‘Then we have three or four young guys on the bench. I’m going to cry? I’m going to complain? I need to accept this, the challenge, and keep being positive.
‘We are not going to change. We have our opinion, we have our reality. We assess our team under our opinion, under our reality and with all the circumstances.
‘We are doing very good things, more than the people can expect. But Chelsea’s expectation is always to win.
‘I can understand the emotion, the emotion is of course to complain because we want to win. The fans for sure are going to help the team Sunday to win the game at Aston Villa.’