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‘I’m not happy’: Pochettino speaks out on Chelsea’s Christmas Eve fixture

Mauricio Pochettino is unhappy with Chelsea’s trip to Wolves being moved to Christmas Eve, saying it is unfair on travelling fans and has left him unable to celebrate his 31st wedding anniversary with his wife.

The date of the fixture, which will be televised on Sky Sports in the UK at 1.30pm, was confirmed by the Premier League this week and described as “unacceptable” by the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST).

It will be the first top-flight match on Christmas Eve since 1995 and Pochettino, who revealed that Christopher Nkunku could return from a knee injury after next month’s international break, is as disappointed as his team’s supporters. The manager will have to make different plans with his wife and he said another frustration for him is that Argentinian people traditionally begin their festive celebrations on 24 December rather than Christmas Day.

“Our fans are not happy?” Pochettino said. “Me neither. I’m not happy also because the 23rd is my anniversary and I need to travel to Wolves, and I am not going to spend the night of 23 in my house. Then the 24th for Argentine people is a really important night and I hope to arrive in time to celebrate.”

Wolves’ Matheus Nunes watches his shot fly into Chelsea’s goal in April 2023Chelsea lost 1-0 at Wolves in April, Matheus Nunes’s goal enough to beat Frank Lampard’s side. Photograph: Chris Radburn/Reuters

The CST has urged the league to rearrange the game but Pochettino doubts Chelsea will have much success if they push for a new date. “It is difficult because I think it is not easy to change,” he said. “We need to accept, we are in England and it is different to the rest of the world, but I need to adapt myself and even if I am not happy I need to do my best.”

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Pochettino joked that his wife was unlikely to join him for a special evening in Wolverhampton. “I believe I am not going to convince her to come,” he said.