Pochettino urges Armando Broja to elevate his performance following his goal against Preston North End

Mauricio Pochettino urges Armando Broja to elevate his performance following his goal against Preston North End

Mauricio Pochettino has acknowledged that he wants to see Chelsea forward Armando Broja make improvements after his goal against Preston North End.

With Nicolas Jackson away on international duty with Senegal and Christopher Nkunku nursing a minor hip injury, Broja was handed responsibility down the centre of the attack.

Prior to Saturday’s tie in the FA Cup third round, the Albania international had scored just once – a fortuitous goal against Fulham – in five starts and nine substitute outings in all competitions this season.

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For 57 minutes of the meeting with the Championship outfit, Broja largely cut an isolated figure until he put Chelsea ahead with a moment of quality.

Running onto an inswinging cross from Malo Gusto, the 22-year-old directing a powerful header into the far corner of the net via the inside of the post.

That goal put the Blues on their way to a 4-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, with Thiago Silva, Raheem Sterling and Enzo Fernandez also getting on the scoresheet.

In the post-match press conference, though, the focus was on Broja, Pochettino admitting that he was delighted with his goal but called for more from the academy graduate if he is to realise his potential.

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The Argentine told reporters: “It’s really important for him but I need to be honest, he needs to use this game to improve. Not only in his fitness or his capacity for work ethic, he needs to step up and move and smile more and be more positive to improve in his game.

“The potential is amazing, the young striker in England or Europe, one of with the most potential. He needs to push himself to realise and work really hard.

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“He has suffered in the past a big injury, nearly one year away and needs time. Not easy for him to perform or to be at the level we expect. Our expectation is massive and we will push him.”

With Chelsea facing Middlesbrough in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday night, Broja was withdrawn with 14 minutes remaining, the expectation being that he will again lead the line at the Riverside Stadium.

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