Frank Leboeuf reveals the real reason Chelsea star Thiago Silva was dropped by Mauricio Pochettino

Thiago Silva was dropped for Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa (Picture: Getty)

Former Chelsea defender Frank Lebouef is confident Thiago Silva’s omission from last night’s starting XI against Aston Villa had nothing to do with his wife’s controversial social media activity.

The veteran centre-half’s long-term partner fanned the flames on Sunday after she hinted that Chelsea should be considering a managerial change following a chaotic 4-2 home defeat against Wolves.

Belle Silva subsequently issued an apology after Pochettino revealed he had held crunch talks with the 39-year-old who appears certain to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer.

Facing a must-win FA Cup fourth round replay at Villa Park, eyebrows were raised when Pochettino axed the former PSG and Milan star and gave a pointed response when asked pre-game why the Brazilian had been dropped.

Silva was introduced as a late substitute and Lebouef noted the interaction between player and coach suggested there was no lingering ill-feeling between the pair.

He told ESPNFC: ‘When everything goes wrong you have a target and the biggest and easiest one is the coach.

‘Players are starting to criticse the coach thinking that the tactics aren’t good and the choices aren’t good but you have to take care of everything people are saying.

Thiago Silva came on as a late substitute in Chelsea’s win over Aston Villa (Picture: Getty)

‘Did Thiago Silva’s wife really say that or not? I’m not sure about that.

‘Thiago Silva has already been on the bench and not because of his wife’s comments. It was because it was a tactic and because he’s 39 and needs a rest.

‘It was more that. When he came on I saw Pochettino putting his hand on his shoulder and they were talking to each other I didn’t see a tension between them.’

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Pochettino’s decision was ultimately vindicated as the central defensive partnership of Benoit Badiashile and Axel Disasi kept Villa’s attack quiet, while goals from Conor Gallagher, Nicolas Jackson and Enzo Fernandez booked a place in the fifth round where Chelsea will meet Leeds United.

‘I’m really pleased because first of all the players were fantastic, they played really well,’ said Pochettino. ‘They enjoyed it and that is the most important thing. They enjoyed in the game against a team that is doing fantastic job, so difficult to beat here, I think they’re the second best team at home. Full of confidence in the top four.

‘I’m really, really pleased with the performance. I think it provides us with the capacity to really believe and that we are all together. If we are all together, and we fight together, and we approach the game in the way we approach today, then I think we are able to perform this way.’

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