Pochettino explains benching Thiago Silva for Villa win

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Mauricio dropped Thiago Silva from his starting XI for Chelsea’s FA Cup fourth-round replay with Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

For some, the decision was however not a surprise, following the defender’s wife’s comments in the aftermath of Chelsea’s 4-2 loss to Wolves on Sunday.

Silva’s wife, Belle, seemed to call for the immediate sacking of Pochettino after the game, which reports say was not well-received by the Chelsea hierarchy.

Poch, during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, however, insisted that he wasn’t angered by the comments, and that his relationship with Silva was as a matter of fact still very good. But eyebrows were raised when the team sheet for the Villa game was released, and the Brazilian wasn’t in the starting line-up, although Poch later said his player selection was purely based on  balance and form.

“I always pick my players based on performance and balance. That’s it,” said the 51-year-old, who was then asked whether the decision had anything to do with the post from Silva’s wife, to which he replied: “My answer was clear, no?”

Silva was later introduced as a second-half substitute, as Chelsea stomped to a 3-1 win over Unai Emery’s side, and booked a slot in the fifth round of the tournament.