Nicolas Jackson, since becoming a Chelsea player, has been showing signs of his potential which was seen in his Villarreal performances last season.
The Senegal international signed an eight-year contract with Chelsea worth around £32 million following a breakout 2022/23 campaign in La Liga where he scored 12 goals for Villarreal.
Nicolas Jackson had revealed his admiration for the Blues and three of the club's iconic forwards in his first interview as a Chelsea player:
“I wanted to join a big team and Chelsea is one of the best teams in the world, plus I’ve watched them since I was young. I watched Demba Ba, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka was good too, big players. So I always dreamed of playing for a team like this,” he revealed.
The 22-year-old former Villarreal player on course to becoming another deadly striker for Chelsea like his childhood idols, has been on fire in the pre-season games for Pochettino's wards in July.
He was involved in one of the goals in Chelsea's first match of the USA pre-season tour against Wrexham with an assist.
Nicolas Jackson built on that in his second game for Chelsea, as Mauricio Pochettino's side faced off with Brighton in a thrilling 4-3 win for the Blues. The match took place in Philadelphia, United States, as part of the Premier League Summer Series.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 23, 2023
Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton opened the scoring through Danny Welbeck in the 13th minute, but Jackson's strike partner Nkunku, restored parity six minutes later. And Both teams ended the half-time in stalemates.
As the second half got underway, the Seagulls got reduced to ten men 15 minutes into the half due to a second bookable offense from Jan Paul van Hecke.
Jackson provided an assist for Mudryk to get his first Chelsea goal with a magnificent strike in the 65th minute. And he was not done with assist duties in the match, providing yet another assist in the 72nd minute for Connor Gallagher to score and make it 3-1 for the Blues.
Barely four minutes after getting his second assist, Nicolas Jackson netted his first goal for Chelsea, and overall fourth goal for Pochettino's men to cap off a ‘Man of the Match award' performance for the London club.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 23, 2023
But there was still time for Brighton to try and force a comeback as João Pedro pulled one back through a penalty in the 79th minute, while Deniz Undav found the net a few minutes to go but it was not enough as the Blues triumphed 4-3 on the night.
Chelsea under Pochettino are looking quite different from what they were last season. They finished 12th in the Premier League, with 44 points from 38 matches. They'd won 11 matches, drawn 11, and lost 16; scoring 38 goals and conceding 47.
The new owners of the club will be eager for the former Tottenham manager to turn the fortunes of the London club around as his reign has started well in the pre-season games.
Mauricio Pochettino's reaction to Nicolas Jackson's performance in Brighton win
Chelsea new manager Mauricio Pochettino, speaking to BBC Sports in Philadelphia, said his new striker Nicolas Jackson will need “time to adapt” to the Premier League after an impressive performance in their 4-3 pre-season win over Brighton.
“This type of game is important to him to feel what it means to play in the Premier League. 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.”
Mauricio Pochettino's take when asked if Nkunku and Jackson could start together
Nkunku and Jackson have not started games together so far in the pre-season games, and to this effect the question was posed to the gaffer who had this to say:
“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 means we need to use both to share the minutes.”
The manager also had his take on Mudryk who has struggled since his big money move to Chelsea in January
Ukrainian forward Mudryk was impressive for the Blues in the Brighton win. He got his first goal in a Chelsea shirt after some sweet interchange of passes from Jackson, and unsettled Brighton's defense all night in the affair 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.”
Pochettino also gave his voice when asked about Levi Colwill
Colwill spent last season on loan at Brighton, and Roberto De Zerbi has tried to sign the player for the club. Chelsea however made it clear the player is not for sale.
Pochettino said: “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. I am so happy, he can be one of the greatest centre-backs in England.”
Nicolas Jackson and his teammates will shift attention to their next game, as Chelsea continue their pre-season preparations in the United States with the Premier League Summer Series encounters.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago