Chelsea boss Pochettino says Sterling deserves 'full credit' for return to form

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Chelsea boss Pochettino says Sterling deserves 'full credit' for return to form

Sterling embracing Pochettino after getting substituted
Sterling embracing Pochettino after getting substitutedReuters
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Raheem Sterling (28) and said the England forward deserved "full credit" for returning to form after his dazzling two-goal display in Friday's 3-0 win over Luton Town in the Premier League.

Sterling has been one of the few bright spots for Chelsea in their opening 1-1 draw with Liverpool and last week's 3-1 loss to West Ham United, and he again looked back to his best as he helped Chelsea earn their first win under new boss Pochettino.

The forward has flourished under the Argentine coach, who took charge last month, having struggled to find consistent form for much of his time at Chelsea since his move from Manchester City in July last year.

"His commitment in the way he wants to contribute with the team, with his work ethic and quality, he deserves the full credit for his performance," Pochettino told reporters. "I'm so pleased for him.

"He told me last season was a difficult season for him, but I am very pleased when the player is happy. And when an offensive player can score or assist, for us, it's the best feeling."

Sterling celebrates Chelsea's first goal
Sterling celebrates Chelsea's first goalReuters

Sterling, who also set up striker Nicolas Jackson for Chelsea's third goal, said he had held talks with Pochettino about reinventing his role at the club

"Our first conversation with all of the players, and Raheem, I love to ask the position they love to play, how they feel, how they see themselves," Pochettino said.

"It's not the position, it's the animation and the way the team is going to link in between them. It's to find the best position ... to provide the best platform, position and place and link with the player where they can (show) their best quality.

"It's really important, the process ... When you want to build a team in the process that we are, it's a matter of time.

Chelsea play Wimbledon in the League Cup on Wednesday before returning to league action against Nottingham Forest on September 2.

"I am happy because the first victory is always very important," Pochettino told Sky Sports. "It was a solid performance. I think we needed that, we needed to feel the trust and the confidence in what we are doing."

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