Pochettino: This is our Champions League

Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino is looking forward to seeing Chelsea put a foot in the final of this season’s Carabao Cup by recording a win against Middlesbrough.

The Blues will take on Boro at the Riverside on Tuesday night after beating Newcastle United in the last stage.

For Pochettino, this game is like a Champions League clash for Chelsea, as the Blues aren’t in any European competition.

“Because we’re not in European competition it’s really important for us,” Poch said ahead of the game. “It’s good for many young players who have the possibility to play in a semi-final. Also because we are winners and we want to win. So this semi-final is a great opportunity for us.

“Not only for the young players, but also for the older group of players. The club has a winning mentality, we cannot say anything different at Chelsea, but the group of today that we have, the coaching staff and players, we need to match the mentality of the club. It is a good opportunity to make the fans and the club proud, because it’s always about winning.

“It is a great opportunity to step up and show we are more mature, we are improving, we are learning. It is an opportunity to realise that when you are playing for Chelsea doing well is not enough. It’s about doing well and performing in every game and in every single competition, not just one game.”

Pochettino also said: “It’s really important. It’s one of the most important things, to create this chemistry. First of all between us and all the staff in different areas, because there are maybe 120 people seeing us every single day, it is so important.

“Then all of the players need to know each other, they need to trust and always it’s a process. When there are so many new players in the team sometimes it is good, but it is not easy to create this chemistry because it takes time.

“We don’t know if it will take two or three months, or maybe one season, but it is important that we create this because after it is about fighting on the pitch and we need to feel the trust and the confidence and care for your team-mate.”

Pochettino added: “We need to take the semi-final like a great opportunity to enjoy playing football, performing well, helping, running, being aggressive, being all together. Not to feel that it is compulsory to get to the final, because then you will start to limit yourself.

“That is why we were talking a lot in the last few days about going to Middlesbrough and feeling free to play. It is a game which is 180 minutes, but the most important thing is the start, approaching it in the right way.”