Chelsea vs Middlesbrough: Why did Axel Disasi play as a right-back in Carabao Cup semi-final second leg?

Chelsea reached the final of the Carabao Cup after registering an impressive second leg win over Middlesbrough on Tuesday night. The home side hit the visitors for a six, as they overcame a first-leg deficit to reach the team’s first final under Mauricio Pochettino. Going into the second leg with a 1-0 disadvantage, the pressure was very much on the hosts to overturn the deficit, which they did in impressive fashion.

Why did Axel Disasi play as a right-back?

Following the emphatic 6-1 win over Middlesbrough, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino expressed his delight in reaching the Carabao Cup final. He also explained the thinking behind starting centre-back Axel Disasi in a right-back position. Speaking about the performances of both full-backs, Ben Chilwell and Disasi, Pochettino, quoted on the club’s website, said, “They were important but with Chilly it is after five months we couldn’t use him. We were using different players like Levi Colwill or Marc Cucurella, who is also injured. We have two right-backs that today we couldn’t count on, in Reece James and Malo Gusto, so we are using Axel.”

He added: “They were important today but we need to be consistent. Players like Chilly could do 65 minutes but the objective is to arrive at 80 minutes, hopefully do the 90 minutes, and then be consistent playing every two or three days. That is the most important thing. Now we need to help players like him to get their best form, but at the same time we are competing. We can think we are going to play with Chilly or Reece, but we know then after 10 or 15 minutes of the second half we have players that we need to change. That makes things more complicated, but we accept and it is normal for us. We try to translate to the team that we can compete in our best way doing this.”

Mauricio Pochettino on reaching Carabao Cup final

Pochettino then expressed his satisfaction in reaching the final of the Carabao Cup, a trophy he is keen to lift with Chelsea. “In some points it’s an amazing achievement because it was an objective when we started, because we are not in Europe. To build a team from nearly zero, it was an objective to be at Wembley in February. That job is done but now it’s about winning the final. I am so happy,” he explained.

The manager further added: “But on the other side it looks like it is not so important when Chelsea are out of the Champions League and the Premier League title race. It’s important for the club, it’s important for us and important for this process to build a new team. It’s an important step for us for the confidence and belief in ourselves. That’s going to help because of the motivation and players who are close to returning to the team, they are going to want to come back to training tomorrow because of the final! I am desperate to win a title here. We won three trophies in Paris and we want to win one here. I am desperate to win trophies, of course.”

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