Raheem Sterling could be the new Zidane, says Pochettino as he uses France legend as example to Chelsea star

MAURICIO POCHETTINO believes Raheem Sterling can win over Chelsea’s boo-boys — just like Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.

Sterling was targeted by some Blues fans when he came on as a substitute in the team’s last visit to Bournemouth back in May.

GettyMauricio Pochettino is backing Raheem Sterling to be a smash hit at Chelsea[/caption]

Poch is urging Sterling to follow Zinedine Zidane’s lead at Real MadridAFP

It was the lowest point of a tough first season at Stamford Bridge for the £47.5million signing, despite his arrival helping spark a 3-1 win.

But as Chelsea prepare to return to the Vitality Stadium this afternoon, Pochettino said: “Maybe Sunday can change these boos to claps.

“Chelsea always have massive expectations. When you arrive at Chelsea as a player or coaching staff, what do people expect?

“To win and win trophies and to perform and to score.

“Now we have a squad that is young and some players who are a big investment for the club.  

“It’s not fair to assess, OK, one game, two games, three games they’re not performing and we paid money and they need to perform like this.

“Always I use the same example. Real Madrid paid a huge fee, I don’t know what, for one player.

“The name was Zinedine Zidane, an amazing player. After six months you can ask the fans of Bernabeu, Real Madrid and people there — ‘What have we bought?’


Sterling and Pochettino are hoping for a win against BournemouthReuters

“And he started to perform after seven, eight months. Zidane was 26, 27 and when you bring a player of 18, 19, 20, 21, be careful, they’re not machines.”

Sterling, 28, is starting to turn things around at Chelsea and Pochettino hopes a player entering his 13th season in the Prem will have a positive influence on Blues’ influx of young, mostly foreign talent.

He said: “We’re happy because he is a player with experience that can help the young guys to evolve. If we can help the player to improve and be better and score goals and make assists, it’s much, much better for him and for the team.

“I am so happy about his performances and about the way he behaved the last two weeks.  He worked really, really hard.”

Sterling was disappointed to miss out on the latest England squad but his omission allowed Pochettino to get to know better a player that he admitted he used to “hate” when he was the opposition coach.

Poch said: “Now I want to enjoy him. But we were suffering in previous seasons! You can feel that he’s fit, ready to compete, to get to his level and improving. And the last two weeks were important for him also moving forwards.”

After the Cherries, Poch’s men face Aston Villa, Fulham and Burnley in the league aiming to put behind them the 1-0 Stamford Bridge loss to Nottingham Forest before the international break.

The Argentine boss added: “One thing is a bad feeling because of results, another is the process — and I think we’re in a good way.

“We need to recover all the injured players and then we will be very competitive and tough to play against.”

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