Mauricio Pochettino said Chelsea were ‘not clinical enough’ after his side lost 1-0 at Middlesbrough in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Chelsea suffered a disappointing defeat to the Championship outfit, as Hayden Hackney scored the only goal of the game to hand the second-tier side a first-leg advantage at the Riverside.

The West Londoners missed a host of good opportunities as Pochettino started the game without a recognised centre-forward, with Armando Broja named among the substitutes.

Pochettino criticised his side’s lack of ruthlessness in the final third, but insists it is only half-time in the tie ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge on January 23.

“It’s so easy to explain,” Pochettino told the club’s website on the defeat.

“We made some mistakes in the first half and we were punished for that. We created big chances but didn’t score, we were not clinical enough. That is so clear. In the second half we dominated but we didn’t create enough chances. Middlesbrough deserve the credit of course.

“It’s the first 90 minutes, the first half of the tie, and we are losing 1-0. In two weeks we are going to have the second leg and we have to be positive that we can win the game and go to the final. That is the objective.

“We were punished for the mistakes we made in the first half. We conceded a goal because it was our mistake. The few mistakes we made they punished us. We created enough chances to score and get a draw at the end. Over 90 minutes I thought we were the better side, but if you don’t score goals you cannot win. They scored and we didn’t. That explains perfectly what happened.”

‘I am disappointed because I think we deserved a different result, but sometimes you don’t play well and you win. For us it’s like we need to play well, we need to score goals. We play well but sometimes we are not clinical enough and sometimes we are punished. That is the process in this moment we are in.

“Always when you are building a team this kind of scenario is tough, because you not only need to play well but you need to deserve and have some luck. Today we made a few mistakes and conceded a goal that we should not concede. Then we were not clinical enough.”

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