What Are Chelsea’s Realistic Expectations Heading Into The Mauricio Pochettino Era At Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League last season which saw four managers take control of the team.
Thomas Tuchel started the season with a lot of expectations as he brought in some quality players like Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wesley Fofana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to an already-stacked Chelsea team.
However, the German manager was sacked by owner Todd Boehly just over a month into the season. The decision shocked the Premier League as Tuchel was the manager that led them to their second Champions League trophy in 2021.
It was going to be difficult to replace Tuchel and a big name was next expected to take over the reins of Chelsea.
To everyone’s surprise, Boehly named Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter as Tuchel’s successor.
Although the 48-year-old was transforming Brighton and making them a proper Premier League team, there were many reservations about his abilities to handle a team of Chelsea’s calibre.
After eight months of managing the club, those questions seemed legitimate as the club played way below the expected standards and got knocked out of the Champions League and other club competitions.
His sacking resulted in Bruno Saltor taking over as the interim manager before club legend Frank Lampard made his way back into the team for the second time.
His return did not spark any fuel in Chelsea’s bloated locker room as the London club finished 12th in the Premier League.
Some big changes were expected from the Chelsea board in the off-season.
The managerial position was indefinitely going to be the biggest one. With names like Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann popping up, Chelsea fans were excited for the offseason.
However, after weeks of discussions with some high-profile names, Chelsea finally named former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino as the manager of the club.
This decision split the Chelsea fanbase as not everyone was on board with the decision. Having previously coached in the Premier League, Pochettino certainly knows what life is like in English football, but his ability to win trophies was questionable.
He coached Paris Saint Germain and won the league with them, but after coaching them for just over a season, he was sacked by the board.
Pochettino Nurturing Young Talent
Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Eduoard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly and N’Golo Kante all departed Chelsea during this current summer transfer window.
These were big names, but Pochettino was clear that he wanted to trim the squad size before the start of the pre-season.
The club also had the likes of Andrey Santos, Cesare Casadei, Malo Gusto and Christopher Nkunku come into the team. The Argentine manager is known to have a rigorous training plan and that has been visible in Chelsea’s pre-season so far.
The Blues have emerged victorious in all their pre-season games and also lifted the Summer Series trophy in the United States. Although they have much bigger aspirations when the season begins, the pre-season could be considered a success for Chelsea.
Pochettino’s team is always known to run more than the opposition, and with a young squad like Chelsea, this is something that he can continue implementing.
His classic 4-2-3-1 formation seems to be a good fit with the Chelsea team and it helps the squad play a lot more direct than they have previously. One of the most impressive players in the pre-season campaign for the Blues has been new signing Nicholas Jackson.
The Senegalese forward has been linking up well with his teammates and has also managed to get on the scoresheet in Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States. The likes of Nkunku and Ian Maatsen have also looked impressive, which gives the Blues a massive boost on the attacking end.
Could Pochettino’s First Season At Chelsea Bring Him His First Trophy In English Football?
Mauricio Pochettino has been very positive about the project he has undertaken at Chelsea.
He certainly has a talented bunch of players, who can make a lot of noise in the Premier League. However, not many are giving the Blues a major chance to grab a trophy this coming season.
One of the biggest concerns for them could be the fit among the newly signed players, but Pochettino’s idea of bringing in the crucial players before the start of pre-season proved to be the right solution to that issue.
The team looks to be fitting in well together with a few players having already developed a great relationship.
With no European competition, Chelsea will play fewer European games than their other top-six rivals. This could prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Blues as this gives them a chance to work on the team and also to give their best in domestic competitions.
Although the team have many young players, the likes of Thiago Silva, Reece James and Ben Chilwell have been at the club long enough to lead the way from the front.
Having disappointed the fans last season, the players will certainly be hoping to put their best foot forward and bring glory back to Stamford Bridge.
Although the competition is going to be extremely tough for them to get their hands on a trophy, Pochettino’s brand of football could be what the club needs to get back to the top of English football.