Chelsea boss expects ‘real football’ against Luton Town

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Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Crystal Palace – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – December 27, 2023 Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs/File Photo

Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea must be prepared for “real football” when they face Luton Town at Kenilworth Road in the Premier League on Saturday.

Pochettino said the promoted Hatters’ 11,500-capacity ground appealed to the football romantic in him.

But he warned his players they must match the desire of their opponents to earn a positive result following four successive defeats away from home.

“I’m an old man, I am romantic,” the 51-year-old Argentine said.

“I love football of the past and this kind of stadium makes you remember when I started to play.

“It’s a stadium that smells different. It’s not luxury in the way that we recognise luxury today.

“This type of stadium is one where you love to be there. It’s history, it’s completely different.”

While 10th-placed Chelsea are without an away league win since beating nine-man Tottenham on 6 November, Luton have won consecutive matches for the first time in their debut Premier League campaign.

And, with their victories over Newcastle and Sheffield United, Rob Edwards’ side have moved within a point of safety.

A third straight win in Saturday’s 12:30 GMT kick-off – on home soil where they have taken a point off Liverpool and led both Manchester City and Arsenal this season – would take Luton outside of the relegation places and within seven points of Chelsea.

“Today we are living in a different era, but when you go there, you feel real football,” Pochettino said.

“We need to go to Luton thinking that it’s going to be really tough. The stadium, the fans, it’s a team that loves to fight and work really hard,” the Blues boss added.

“If we want to get a good result, we need to be ready of course to play football, but we need to match the desire, the capacity to fight for every single ball.

“It’s going to be a good test for us.”

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