Mauricio Pochettino tells Chelsea to banish last season and deliver from day one

Mauricio Pochettino tells Chelsea to banish last season and deliver from day one

Mauricio Pochettino used his formal unveiling as Chelsea manager to warn that the club must move on quickly from their disastrous campaign last season as there is “no patience” in football.

The first 12 months of ownership for Todd Boehly’s Clearlake capital consortium saw the team record its lowest Premier League finish in 29 years and score fewer league goals than in any season since 1924.

The former Spurs boss, whose appointment was confirmed over a month ago, officially began work at Cobham on Monday and faces the daunting task of picking up the pieces from a season that saw two managers dismissed and more than £600million spent assembling a bloated, unbalanced squad.

Work has begun on slimming down the playing staff and shrinking the wage bill with Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante among nine first-team players to have left since the transfer window re-opened.

Pochettino promised more movement in the transfer market and said he would take a more hands-on role in recruitment now that he has formally started work, though co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Lawrence Stewart will continue to lead the process.

Chelsea begin life competitively under their new manager against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on August 13, and the Argentinian said he and his players should not expect to be afforded a transitional period in which to heal from their last campaign.

Mason Mount
Mason Mount has joined Manchester United as part of slimming-down of Chelsea’s squad (John Walton/PA)

“Every single season, not only the players but also the staff and the people and the fans have the capacity to move on quick,” said Pochettino. “In football, you need to move on quick. If not, you are dead.

“Of course what I found from day one – and it’s true that the squad is not the whole squad yet – but the players were very open, the attitude is amazing. Of course we have the quality and we are going to add more quality. I’m so excited to be here, and of course I don’t think about what happened in the past.

“The past is not too far away, but I think when you finish the season you have to move on and try to think of the future.”

Co-controlling owner Boehly has so far shown himself to be as ready to dismiss managers as his predecessor Roman Abramovich, with Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter already removed having each worked for only a few months under the American.

Pochettino was given five-and-a-half years to work at his last Premier League appointment, Tottenham, and in that time had a transformational effect on the club, carrying them from a sixth-place finish in 2014 to become title challengers two seasons later and Champions League finalists in 2019.

He was asked whether he expected to be given a similar window at Stamford Bridge in which to rebuild following the failures of last season.

“In football, (there is) no patience,” he said. “It’s difficult to wait. At Chelsea, it is not about asking for time. You need to deliver from day one.

“That is why we are working now in the training ground. It’s not to waste time. It’s to deliver from now, to give our best, to put in the service of the team. Football is about today or yesterday, you can’t talk too much long term.

Graham Potter was not afforded time at Chelsea
Graham Potter was not afforded time at Chelsea (Martin Rickett/PA)

“You can’t say to the people ‘we need six months to create something’. That’s not good. We need to create the belief from the beginning. I think we’re going to have a squad that can deliver in the short term and give what we expect.

“From day one we need to be thinking about winning. If we don’t win, little by little we need more time to develop our ideas.

“We need to be ready in the first game of the Premier League to beat Liverpool.”

He added that an understanding had been struck from as early the first conversations with the hierarchy about what would be expected of him in the role.

“The first conversation was with Paul and Lawrence, by Zoom. I said ‘I need to know if I need to convince you or you need to convince me’.

“They were very honest with me. They showed the plan. All the good and not so good things that need to happen before July 1, and after. I listened then.

“Then I spoke with the owners in a really good way. They are clever people, football is about being clever and learning from the past and experience. I feel good.

“I’m not a coach that needs to ask for power. I don’t ask in my contract for a clause that I need to do this or that. I need to show to (the owners) and the players and fans that they can trust me and my decisions.”