Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that Chelsea players "need to grow up" after yet another Premier League defeat on Sunday.
Despite spending around £1bn on new players over the last 18 months, and around £400m during the summer 2023 transfer window alone, Chelsea have been truly woeful at the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season.
Chelsea had been playing relatively well against Villa on Sunday, until 20-year-old wing-back Malo Gusto for a reckless challenge on the byeline. 15 minutes after going down to ten-men, Chelsea conceded the winning goal to Ollie Watkins.
Gusto is one of a number of young players the new Blues owners have made a point of signing in recent seasons, with Todd Boehly and co. building the youngest squad in the league - the average age of the squad is 23.7 years.
Thanks to the straight red card Gusto will be unavailable for the next two Games, and first choice striker Nicolas Jackson is also set to serve a suspension thanks to his fifth yellow card of the campaign already.
- LISTEN TO THE LATEST EPISODE OF 90MIN'S TALKING TRANSFERS PODCAST: HARRY KANE, IVAN TONEY, AARON RAMSDALE & MORE
Speaking to the club's official website, Pochettino commented on these suspensions and chalked them down to the squad's "need to grow up" and learn how to compete at a Premier League level:
"We need to grow up, as a team, not only as individual. Nicolas is so young and he’s still feeling the Premier League. He’s learning, I think he needs time.
"In this type of game, we are competing and want to win, and football is hard to win. But also players when they are young need to learn with experience and make mistakes. That is why I am disappointed, because I think we are having too many situations like this. They are small details, but small details can end in you losing the game and now we are in a situation that we need to change as soon as possible."
Speaking about the Gusto straight red specifically, Pochettino insisted that the player needed to take responsibility for what was a reckless tackle: "It was in front of me but I didn’t see it, so I cannot say it wasn’t a red card. We need to trust the referee and the VAR and we cannot go back and change the decision, we need to accept that.
"It’s the player’s responsibility, we cannot blame the referee or the VAR. In this situation we need to act in a different way. I’m not going to blame or say anything against Malo Gusto, because sometimes these situations happen in Football, but of course the situation affected the team and the Game in a negative way."
READ THE LATEST CHELSEA NEWS, TRANSFER RUMOURS & GOSSIP
Champions League group stages: Who can be eliminated on Matchday 5?
Who is István Kovács, the referee for AC Milan - Dortmund Champions League group stage?
Gavi injury update: Barcelona announce surgery was a success
Arsenal willing to sanction Aaron Ramsdale exit at end of season
Bell, Lee & Summerbee: Who are Man City legends honoured with statue?
Why isn’t Yunus Musah playing for AC Milan?
Tottenham join race for Blackburn's Adam Wharton
Marcus Rashford dedicated Everton goal to late cousin