Mauricio Pochettino has backed Nicolas Jackson to become “one of the greatest strikers in the Premier League” after he got off the mark in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Luton Town on Friday night.
Two goals from Raheem Sterling set the Blues on the way to their first three points under Pochettino, before the England winger set Jackson up for his first goal for the club.
A £32m summer signing from Villarreal, few expected Jackson to immediately pick up the mantle of being Chelsea’s main striker, but he has assumed the role after summer moves for Victor Osimhen and others failed to materialise.
A new arrival is still possible between now and September 1, especially if Romelu Lukaku departs the club to join Roma on loan, but Pochettino has thrown his support behind Jackson after his bright start, suggesting he has all the qualities to become a Premier League great.
“We knew Nicolas Jackson’s quality when we signed him, we saw that before. It is not that we ask him to run and press the ball, he is quality in the way he recovers the ball, but he also can finish,” Pochettino said.
“It is only a matter of time, once he settles into the Premier League, he will show it more. Nicolas Jackson has top quality. I have no doubt that he can become one of the greatest strikers in the Premier League.”
Chelsea’s victory over Luton was a huge boost after an inauspicious defeat to West Ham at London Stadium highlighted the task ahead of Pochettino. But another huge boost for the Argentine has been the re-emergence of Raheem Sterling into the limelight after a quiet first season in west London.
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The 28-year-old led by example for Chelsea against the Premier League new boys, with Pochettino revealing after the game the process he’s been through with Sterling during the early weeks of his reign.
“I need to hope Raheem will be happy [about my answer],” Pochettino said. “Our first conversation with all of the players, and Raheem, I love to ask the position they love to play, how they feel, how they see themselves in front of the mirror.
“It is not the position, it is the animation and how the team is going to link in between. To find the best position for the dynamic of the game we are playing in an offensive situation to try to provide the best platform and position and place and link to the player that can appear their best quality.
“That is why the process is important, trying to work to create all these links and the way that we want to play and animation and to know each other we need time. When you are in a team in the process that we are, it is a matter of time.”
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