Chelsea: Mauricio Pochettino explains why he dropped Raheem Sterling after fan criticism

Chelsea: Mauricio Pochettino explains why he dropped Raheem Sterling after fan criticism

Mauricio Pochettino insists he is not afraid to play Chelsea winger Raheem Sterling at Stamford Bridge despite dropping him to the bench since he was booed off against Leicester.

The 29-year-old has not started since his poor display before the international break saw him subjected to boos and jeers from large sections of the home crowd.

Sterling made substitute appearances against Burnley and Manchester United before being unused at Sheffield United last Sunday.

With another home game against Everton on Monday, Pochettino has insisted his selection decisions are not influenced by the fans.

“No, it's because we assess all the player's performance, and I think we need to be fair, or trying to be fair, and we gave the opportunity to Noni Madueke to play,” Pochettino told reporters.

“And to put [Cole] Palmer in another position to find a good balance. You know, we've got to get [someone] on the left, and I think it's because we assess the player's form and then make a decision. It's only for that.

“Not because of the situation, [that isn’t] going to make me change my mind. And I think the team is not suffering for this. It's only because I analyse the form of the player. And then I need to make decisions.

“He didn't play in Sheffield because, in the same way we assess the squad, we assess the player, and we assess the player's form.

“It's the feeling like we had today [in training]. We got some feelings because we see the players training every day. We, in our opinion and assessment, believe that they are the best players to play because they are performing well or better than another. You know that’s how we made the choice.”

Pochettino further explained why Sterling is a doubt for the match, having had back pain and sickness all week.

“He sent a text this morning to the doctor saying that he was vomiting,” he added. “He's not been training since after Sheffield because he suffered a little bit in his back also.

“We need to assess and see. It's a virus, and we need to assess.”