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‘It’s like the old Chelsea… they’ve been everything you want as a team’: Roy Keane waxes lyrical about Blues’ first-half performance at Aston Villa as they take 2-0 lead to ease pressure on Mauricio Pochettino

Roy Keane heaped praise on Chelsea’s first half performance against Aston Villa as they surged into an early 2-0 lead.

The Blues and their boss Mauricio Pochettino came into the FA Cup fourth round replay at Villa Park under huge pressure following Sunday’s dire 4-2 defeat to Wolves.

However, against their in-form opponents – who beat Sheffield United 5-0 at the weekend – Chelsea started quickly, going 1-0 up after a superb finish from Conor Gallagher which capped a fine team move.

Nicolas Jackson made it 2-0, heading home after a delightful cross from Malo Gusto as the Chelsea supporters at Villa Park were sent into dreamland. 

And Keane, speaking at half-time on ITV, lauded the first half performance by Pochettino’s side.

Roy Keane lauded Chelsea’s first half performance against Aston Villa as they went 2-0 up

Keane, speaking on ITV, said it felt like he was watching 'the old Chelsea' in the first 45 minutes

Keane, speaking on ITV, said it felt like he was watching ‘the old Chelsea’ in the first 45 minutes

‘It’s like the old Chelsea,’ he said. ‘Brilliant, strong, physical and sharp in possession. Good decision-making, two quality goals.

‘They have been excellent. Hunting in packs, working in numbers, and they are playing like a team tonight. 

‘It was a nice bit of composure and a beautiful strike from Gallagher and they’ve been everything you want as a team. Simple but quality.

‘The (second goal) is lovely, it’s great quality all round. We questioned Jackson’s finishing pre-game but again it’s a lovely goal.’

Pochettino came into the game under pressure after Chelsea lost 4-2 to Wolves on Sunday

Pochettino came into the game under pressure after Chelsea lost 4-2 to Wolves on Sunday

But Chelsea responded to that defeat superbly and helped to cause a shock at Villa Park

But Chelsea responded to that defeat superbly and helped to cause a shock at Villa Park

He continued: ‘We’ve questioned Chelsea, but now we question Villa and let’s see what they’ve got. We’re certainly not writing them off and that chance before half time is a warning. 

‘But Villa need something, the Chelsea midfield have been outstanding but Villa need a spark.’

Pochettino had come into the game under major pressure after Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to Gary O’Neil’s side, which was their 10th league defeat of the campaign, leaving them in 11th.

Despite drawing the original tie at Stamford Bridge 0-0, Villa – who sit fourth in the top flight – were major favourites, especially given their record at Villa Park this season. 

But Chelsea were brilliant and following the first half display, Enzo Fernandez made it 3-0 early in the second half with a sublime free kick

Moussa Diaby scored a late consolation, but the Blues ran out 3-1 winners and they will now host Leeds in the fifth round. 

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