Middlesbrough Shock Chelsea In League Cup Semi-Finals

MIDDLESBROUGH: Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino blamed his attacking line-up for a 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough in the League Cup semi-final first leg at the Riverside.

Hayden Hackney scored the only goal of the game in the 38th minute to overcome a line of Chelsea stars who once again failed to produce a convincing performance away from home.

Chelsea have lost five of their last six away games and 21st time overall away from Stamford Bridge since the start of last season – the most for any Premier League side.

The Blues need to recover in a return action at home on January 23 to ease the pressure on Pochettino in his first season with Chelsea.

“If we evaluate the overall performance, we were the better team, had more goal chances but weren’t sharp enough and failed to take advantage of them. It happens often this season,” said Pochettino.

Boro manager Michael Carrick lost his leading scorer Emmanuel Latte Lath just three minutes into the game.

Carrick also had to take Alex Bangura off early in the first half, but that didn’t stop the second division club from taking the lead ahead of the second leg.

“It’s very special. I know it’s two rounds and the challenge isn’t over, but with what we’ve had to go through, injuries to players, to beat a team of Chelsea’s quality is unbelievable,” said Carrick, the former Manchester United midfielder.

Middlesbrough have never conceded against Chelsea in 17 years. In the previous nine games between them, Chelsea won all of them by an aggregate score of 21-0.

Another semi-final action features a clash between Liverpool and Fulham.