Chelsea FC New Coach: What can we expect?
Chelsea made its third appointment for a permanent manager inside a year after its declaration of Pochettino on 29 May, 2023. With the season ending in a turmoil at Stamford Bridge that had four managers, £600m spent and a 12th-placed dismal finish, the Argentine knows a lot of work needs to be done. Graham Potter was given the reins to manage Chelsea last September on a five-year deal with the hope of creating a long-term strategy under the Todd Boehly-Clearlake ownership, who made the decision to ditch Champions League-winning Thomas Tuchel after a slightly bad start to the season. After six months and just 29 league goals, the new owners lost interest in the continuity of the contract and a replacement became imminent.
Who Are the Candidates?
At the time Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann, both free agents after their contracts got abruptly truncated by Spain and Bayern Munich respectively, were the initial frontrunners, prior to Mauricio Pochettino’s interview. “Mauricio’s experience, standards of excellence, leadership qualities and character will serve Chelsea Football Club well as we move forward,” said the clubs co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley.
“He is a winning coach, who has worked at the highest levels, in multiple leagues and languages. His ethos, tactical approach and commitment to development all made him the exceptional candidate.” Bruno Saltor took charge of one game as interim head coach but had little interest in remaining in the role so former player and sacked manager Frank Lampard assumed the role for the rest of the season. Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner was also on the shortlist. Napoli’s Luciano Spaletti was never a likely option with his team closing in – and now winning – a historic Italian league title.
Pochettino emerged as the favorite to permanently succeed Graham Potter following a series of positive talks between the Argentine and Chelsea. The move towards Pochettino was welcomed in the Chelsea dressing-room, with players said to be positive and excited about his appointment. Pochettino’s conversations have focused around fitness concerns, in particular a need for a settled squad in pre-season and a manageable schedule. He has made it clear he is willing to work with current assets whilst also not being afraid to cut players out.
Pochettino is known to play an attacking style of football and mostly uses a similar formation at the clubs he manages. He gives his squad instructions to build from the back, use a quick-pressing strategy to frighten and unnerve opponents and work the ball into the box. Pochettino has an excellent track record of bonding with and developing young players. If the Blues are to be molded into a real force again the progression of Mykailo Mudryk, Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernandez, etc will be paramount.
Poch began his managerial career in Espanyol in 2009 with the team struggling to survive relegation. Upon joining Espanyol, his task was to ransom the team from the imminent relegation. He had only recently acquired his UEFA Pro License in December 2008, and aside from a brief stint as the women’s team assistant coach, he had no prior coaching experience. His first match was home with FC Barcelona, coached by Pep Guardiola, in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey which ended in a 0-0 draw.
Espanyol concluded the season comfortably without being relegated. Their most praiseworthy performance was a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the league rivalry, which was their first at Camp Nou in the competition in 27 years. In January 2013, he joined Southampton where he spent just a season before joining Tottenham in 2014.
He led Tottenham to two finals during his years, the Carabao Cup and Champions League final but lost both finals. He was then sacked in 2019 after a poor season. He moved to PSG in 2021 where he won three first major trophies in one and a half years before leaving in 2022.
Win Percentage 48.8%
Points per game 1.68
Chelsea become the fifth club to be managed by new boss Mauricio Pochettino in his 14 year managerial career. Pochettino spent six years managing in the Premier League.
As a manager, he bagged very few trophies; Ligue 1, Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions at Paris Saint Germain. He won the Premier League Manager of the Month four times during his years in England and was also given the London Football Awards Manager of the Year in 2018.