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Pochettino pressure eases with Chelsea cup win at Villa

AP PHOTO

So much for Chelsea being in crisis.

A 3-1 win at Aston Villa in an FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday extended the London club's strong run of results in the domestic cup competitions this season, just as critics were getting on manager Mauricio Pochettino's back for the team's dismal displays in the Premier League.

Chelsea arrived at Villa Park having been routed 4-1 at Liverpool and then overrun in a 4-2 home loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the EPL.

The pressure on Pochettino had ramped up, with even the wife of defender Thiago Silva appearing to call out the Argentine when she posted on social media at the end of the Wolves game: "It's time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late".

Chelsea's players delivered a performance to make their manager proud, with first-half goals by Conor Gallagher and Nicolas Jackson coming before an exquisite free kick from Enzo Fernandez in the 54th minute that curled beyond his fellow World Cup winner from Argentina, Emi Martinez.

"It wasn't just the manager - everyone associated with the club needed that today," Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell said.

Pochettino insists his Chelsea side cannot be compared to the dominant team from the Roman Abramovich era which won five Premier League titles - despite spending more than Stg 1 billion ($A1.9 billion) under owner Todd Boehly.

"We need to stop this thing that we are Chelsea from 20 years ago. We are not this type of Chelsea anymore," he said.

"We need to move on and we need to create this project.

"We are going to fight, I don't care what the people say.

"We are building a project which may be one year, two years, three years."

Villa have been virtually unbeatable at their own stadium this season but the hosts couldn't live with Chelsea's intensity.

Their consolation came in the first minute of stoppage time through substitute Moussa Diaby.

Chelsea, who will contest the League Cup final against Liverpool on February 25, will host second-tier Leeds in the fifth round of the FA Cup three days later.

Nottingham Forest will face Manchester United at home in the last-16 after beating second-tier Bristol City 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out.

The game finished 1-1 at the end of extra time.

American goalkeeper Matt Turner made the only save of the shoot-out, keeping out Sam Bell's shot, to allow Taiwo Awoniyi to convert the clinching spot kick.