Pochettino hails Jackson as Chelsea beat Brighton

Nicolas Jackson and Conor Gallagher celebrate Chelsea's pre-season win o over Brighton
Nicolas Jackson (left) and Conor Gallagher both scored in Chelsea’s win over Brighton

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino says new striker Nicolas Jackson will need “time to adapt” to the Premier League after an impressive performance in their pre-season win over Brighton.

The 22-year-old scored once and registered two assists as the Blues came from behind to beat Brighton 4-3.

The Senegal international joined Chelsea from Villarreal in June.

“This type of game is important to him to feel what it means to play in the Premier League,” Pochettino said.

Christopher Nkunku cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s early strike for Brighton in Philadelphia, before Chelsea scored three goals in 11 minutes from Mykhailo Mudryk, Conor Gallagher and Jackson.

Brighton defender Jan Paul van Hecke was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 60th minute, but the 10 men rallied.

A penalty from Joao Pedro and an 89th-minute strike from Deniz Undav ensured Brighton pushed the Blues all the way.

Jackson scored 13 goals in 38 appearances for Villareal last season, including nine in their final eight league games.

He registered an assist against Wrexham in Chelsea’s first match of their USA tour.

“I think when Chelsea sign a player like him it’s because they detect something important in quality and talent,” Pochettino said.

“He is a big talent, he needs time to adapt to the new club, the Premier League.

“He is young also, we need to help him to develop and evolve and be an important player for Chelsea.”

Nkunku, who joined the Blues from RB Leipzig for £52m last month, has now scored in both pre-season games.

Asked if Nkunku and Jackson, who have alternated in the number nine role, could start together, Pochettino said: “For sure, we will arrive in the next few games at the possibility to play them together.

“It is that the circumstance of the physical condition mean we need to use both to share the minutes.”

A fresh start for Mudryk?

Mudryk has struggled to hold down a starting place since arriving at Stamford Bridge for £89m in January.

The forward joined up with Ukraine for the European Under-21 Championships to try and regain some form and was rewarded with his first goal for Chelsea.

He volleyed in from the edge of the area after exchanging passes with Jackson, and looked an attacking threat all night with his pace.

“Attacking players need to score and need to get their confidence and trust in themselves,” Pochettino said.

“Always it is important to score goals. I think today with a little bit more capacity to stay calm, maybe we can create more chances and score more.

“We need to believe and trust in the process to arrive to the first Premier League game in the best condition.”

Colwill ‘can be best in England’

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi had spoken about wanting to sign Chelsea defender Levi Colwill permanently after the Englishman spent last season on loan at the Seagulls.

The 20-year-old joined up with Chelsea following his European success with England Under-21s but gave away a penalty against Brighton.

Pochettino said afterwards that Colwill was “our player” and would continue with the Blues.

“His performance was good today, better than what I expected because it is only the first game with us after the season with Brighton,” the Argentine added.

“I am so happy, he can be one of the greatest centre-backs in England.”

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