Chelsea must be patient with Pochettino – Sutton

44

Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton urges the club to exercise patience with manager Mauricio Pochettino, despite their challenges this season.

The Blues suffered a 4-1 setback at Liverpool before losing 4-2 at home to Wolves on Sunday. The fans jeered them off.

Despite making another significant player acquisition during the summer, Chelsea’s performance has resulted in 10 losses in 23 games, placing them 11th in the Premier League.

“It is easy to say you need to change manager,” Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“If you look at the job Pochettino did at Tottenham, eventually he got there.

“Certainly there needs to be patience with the manager.”

After three losses at the beginning of the 2022–2023 season, Todd Boehly and the private equity firm Clearlake Capital took over Chelsea in May 2022 and fired Thomas Tuchel on their 100th day in leadership in September 2022.

Graham Potter took his place, but the following April, he was fired with the team ranked 11th in the league—the same spot that the Blues occupy under Argentine manager Fernando Pochettino.

Chelsea spent more than £1 billion in four transfer windows since the current ownership took over in 2022, primarily to acquire young players contracted to long terms. Last summer, Chelsea spent more than £380 million, more than any other club in Europe.

“They have no choice but to hang on in there, trust Pochettino and hope he gradually improves them,” Sutton told 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.

“When you spend that kind of money you would expect the team to be slicker and better than they are at this moment in time.

“They do have an identity – they want to press high and be brave on the ball playing out from the back – but are a team low on confidence.

“They have made tiny bit of progress if you compare it to last season but last season was so bad it was impossible not to do that.”

Shay Given, a former goalkeeper for Newcastle, added that Pochettino, who led Tottenham to a Champions League final with a youthful team and finished second, shouldn’t be fired.

“You can’t just keep sacking the manager,” he said. “Tuchel was regarded as one of the best managers in world football.

“There has to be something else going on behind the scenes because you have had some good managers in there.”

But former Blues winger Pat Nevin said Chelsea are playing like a side “built by an algorithm”.

“They don’t work together, it’s very, very staccato the way they try and play,” the Scot told BBC World Service’s Sport Today.

“There’s no great understanding and it does look like you’ve got all promising players in various positions, but have you considered how they might work together? Because it doesn’t really look that way.”

Pochettino says ‘young’ players need support

Since Boehly and Clearlake took over at Chelsea, the team has added 28 players, making this season’s roster the youngest in the Premier League.

However, the Blues have not lost 10 games in a league season after 23 games since the 1993–94 campaign.

Following the Wolves loss, Ben Chilwell, the captain, stated it is “on us” as players and Pochettino apologized to the fans.

“It’s managing the game,” the England full-back told Match of the Day. “It’s maybe a bit of naivety to be honest.

“We need to make sure if we do concede, we regroup and the game in the next five or 10 or 15 minutes doesn’t go the other team’s way which happens too often to us.”

Pochettino stated that the Stamford Bridge crowd is “needed to support” his players.

“The fans will be right to criticise and be angry if the performance is not good,” he said. “But it’s important [to remember] the players are young. They need support.”

Post from Silva’s wife ‘does not help situation’

The reprieve Pochettino gained with league victory against Crystal Palace, Luton, and Fulham as well as cup wins over Middlesbrough and Preston, according to Chelsea supporter Will Faulks of the website Chelsea News, has “evaporated”.

“The Chelsea boss has been dealt a bad hand – but he has played it very poorly, of that there can be no doubt,” he said.

“He’s had to contend with endless injuries and an unbalanced and inexperienced squad assembled in a disastrous manner. Yet even taking that into account, the results he has managed are not good enough considering the players at his disposal.”

Following the Wolves defeat, centre-back Thiago Silva’s wife posted an apparent criticism of Pochettino on social media.

“It’s time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late,” she posted on X, along with two blue heart emojis.

She favored a tweet referring to Potter as a “deadbeat” manager who “doesn’t know what he is doing” just before he was fired last year.

The post, according to Sutton, “does not the help situation”.

“It is absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “It is something the club and Pochettino doesn’t need.

“He has had a poor season. The team has had a poor season. It is not going to help the situation.”