Chelsea having to play a Premier League game on Christmas Eve at Wolverhampton Wanderers has come as a double blow to manager Mauricio Pochettino as he will be unable to celebrate the holiday as well as his wedding anniversary.
The game was originally scheduled to be played on December 23 but has been moved to December 24 for a 1300 GMT (18:30 PM IST) kickoff, marking the first time a Premier League game will be held on Christmas Eve since 1995, earning criticism from fans.
“Our fans not happy? Me neither, I’m not happy also because (December) 23rd is my anniversary with my wife, and I need to travel to Wolves,” Pochettino told reporters with a laugh.
“Then the 24th, for Argentine people, is a really important night, and I hope to arrive in time to celebrate an important night.
“It is difficult because it is not easy to change. We need to accept we are in England and it is different to the rest of the world... Even if I am not happy, I need to try to be at our best level and accept a situation we cannot change.”
Chelsea hosts Brentford on Saturday, and Pochettino is looking for an improvement in his team’s home form. The London side, 10th in the standings, have won only once in five games at Stamford Bridge this season.
“It’s really important we create a run at home. We need to start to win, we need to project the image that we are solid and consistent in front of our fans,” the Argentine manager said.
“It’s going to be a tough game because they are a tough team, they use two different formations... We’ll see, we are ready to face a team that is a good team with very good players. It’s a nice challenge for us.
“(Thomas Frank) is doing a fantastic job at the club where he can develop his idea.”
Pochettino confirmed full-back Reece James was not yet ready to start, while forward Christopher Nkunku could return after the November international break.
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