The Blues were on the back foot during the first 45 minutes and found themselves two goals down at half-time. But fantastic goals from Noni Madueke and Gallagher brought Chelsea level with 10 minutes to go.

Chelsea thought they had won it when Axel Disasi headed home deep into added time but the VAR ruled the goal out for a push on a Villa defender during the build-up. Nicolas Jackson also had a goal ruled out for offside in the first half.

Chelsea will be pleased with how they responded in the second half and credit will go to Pochettino for just about keeping the club’s top seven hopes alive. Gallagher, who was “gutted” his side didn’t walk away with the win, relayed what his manager said during the break to prompt Chelsea’s revival.

He told TNT Sports: “Quite a poor first half, just too slow on the ball. Second half was brilliant and we come back. I felt we should have won the game.

“I am proud of the lads for their second half performance. The gaffer, long story short, said ‘liven up and work harder’ like I said the second half was a lot better.

Gallagher’s curling effort into the top corner on 81 minutes was his sixth goal of the season. He branded it an “absolute swinger” but rued the VAR call to disallow Disasi’s last-gasp goal. “I was happy with the goal and disappointed to not get the third,” the England star explained.

“We had chances to win and we showed great character. The goal at the end should have counted, but it is not my decision. We can hold our heads high and take a lot of confidence from that.

“We are still on a journey to keep improving and nowhere near where we want to be as a club. I try my best and I have so much to improve on as well in every aspect of my game.”

Pochettino branded the late VAR call as “unbelievable” and “ridiculous”, claiming that the technology is ruining the game. “It is painful as it has damaged English football and I think Villa players and their fans didn’t understand why the goal was disallowed,” he told TNT.

“They said it was foul and if you see the challenge what happened if we go into every single challenge like this it is going to be a foul and we wouldn’t finish the game with 11 [players]. We can talk about the performance or the decision – it is damaging the game.