Mauricio Pochettino has told Chelsea’s Moises Caicedo to free his mind as the Blues boss tries to get the “emotional” Ecuador midfielder back on track.
Pochettino splashed out a British record £115 million ($146 million) to sign Caicedo from Brighton in August.
But the 22-year-old’s frequent 11,000-mile round trips to South America to play for Ecuador have limited the time he has been able to spend working with Pochettino and his coaching staff.
Recovering from a red card on his disastrous debut against West Ham, Caicedo has become a regular in Pochettino’s side but is yet to recapture his superb Brighton form.
He revealed in an interview with Chelsea’s website this week that he spent much of his first 10 days in England alone in a hotel room in tears due to homesickness after joining Brighton from Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle in 2021.
Caicedo went on to become one of the key figures for Brighton in their rise up the Premier League, sparking a bidding war between Liverpool and Chelsea earlier this year.
“When we signed him we knew what is going to happen. He’s an emotional guy, an emotional player that needs time to recover,” Pochettino told reporters on Friday.
“It didn’t help also the international games, travelling to Ecuador, to South America. That is really tough every single month, two or three weeks then go 10, 12 days away, then come back sometimes with some injury.
“It’s not an excuse but it’s the reality. In some situations like his, we need to give time and not to be unfair in the way that we assess him.”
In a bid to help Caicedo settle at Chelsea, Pochettino met with his star one on one this week.
The Argentine’s message was to keep calm as Caicedo navigates life at struggling Chelsea amid Ecuador’s hectic World Cup qualifying schedule.
“Before this press conference, he was in my office for twenty minutes,” Pochettino said.
“It is easy because we speak Spanish. It is a subconscious process and that is a problem, only in time can you adapt.
“We had no pre-season with him. We talk about footballers; it is physical and mental, and there is the talent.
“If you want to express your talent, you need to be clear in your mind and be good in your legs. Otherwise, it is not possible to move.”