Mauricio Pochettino appears to LEAK first Chelsea starting XI and drops tactical hint with four unknown players

MAURICIO POCHETTINO has given fans a first glimpse into his tactical vision for Chelsea.

The new Blues boss led an open training session in Cary, North Carolina on Tuesday in preparation for his first game in charge tonight against Wrexham.

GettyMauricio Pochettino is preparing his Chelsea side in the States[/caption]

Thousands of fans got the chance to observe the Argentine coach putting his squad through their paces ahead of their August 12 Premier League opener against Liverpool.

Towards the end of the session, the group was split in two with the majority of the senior stars moving to a pitch behind the stadium for a separate work-out.

Poch then worked with the remaining 11 on shape and structure in what looks to be his first starting XI as Chelsea manager – and it is not one you would perhaps expect.

The team were set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and went through various stages of building up from the back using intricate passing patterns and movements against carefully arranged mannequins.

The team selected had an average age of just 20, and had eight debutants, with only Trevoh Chalobah, Marc Cucurella and Carney Chukwuemeka having represented the club before.

The team was as follows: Lucas Bergstrom in goal. A back four of Malo Gusto, Chalobah, Bashir Humphreys and Cucurella. Cesare Casadei and Andrey Santos in midfield. Finally, trio Diego Moreira, Chukwuemea and Ian Maatsen were sat behind striker Nicolas Jackson.

Poch bellowed at this group for the majority of the practice, wanting them to play with pace and precision but with a few tactical tweaks, such as inverted wingers and split centre backs.

The seniors – including Conor Gallagher, Thiago Silva, Raheem Sterling, Ben Chilwell and Christopher Nkunku – then returned for an 11v11 mini-game.


Poch could look to switch his team around completely at half time against Wrexham to give his entire travelling United States squad a chance to impress, with the stronger line-up potentially thrown in for the second half.

So, who is this inexperienced and young starting XI that Poch could put out against the Welsh League Two minnows?

Goalkeeper and Finland international Bergstrom, 20, is 6ft 7in and joined the academy in 2018 before spending last season out on loan with Peterborough.

Right-back Gusto, 20, signed from Lyon in January before finishing the campaign with the French outfit. Humphreys, 20, has been a Blue since he was 15 and was loaned out to Bundesliga 2’s SC Paderborn earlier this year.

Italian midfielder Casadei, 20, arrived last summer only to spend the second half of the season with Reading. Santos, 19, is a Brazilian wonderkid signed in January.

Moreira, 18, joined on a free from Benfica this summer and starred at the U21s Euros with Portugal. Ian Maatsen, 21, impressed for Vincent Kompany’s promoted Burnley last year and is linked with a move back.

And finally, Jackson, 22, is Chelsea’s £32m striker from Villarreal and is expected to lead the line for Poch in the upcoming Prem season.

GettyCesare Casadei and Bashir Humphreys are set to feature for Poch in pre-season[/caption]

GettyDiego Moreira will hope to show off his skills for the Blues[/caption]

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