|Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino / © AFP|
Mauricio Pochettino admits he has to deliver from “day one” as Chelsea’s new manager vowed to win the trust of the troubled club’s demanding owners.
Pochettino used his first press conference since being hired in May to make it clear he understands the size of the task facing him at Stamford Bridge.
The Argentine arrives in west London to find a club in crisis after Chelsea ended last season 12th in the Premier League — their first bottom-half finish since 1996.
Chelsea, who last won the title in 2017, went through four managers last season and failed to win a trophy despite a £550 million ($702 million) spending spree on new players.
Pochettino faces a tough job to restore the club to its former glory and the former Tottenham boss knows he has to hit the ground running to avoid coming under fire.
“In football, there is no patience. It is difficult to wait. If you are at Chelsea it is not about asking for time, you need to deliver from day one,” Pochettino told reporters.
“Football is about today or yesterday, you can’t talk long term, you cannot tell the people we need six months. That is not good.
“We have a squad that can deliver. From day one we need to think about winning.”
The key to Pochettino’s success could lie in his ability to handle owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali and the club’s sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley.
Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter were both sacked by Chelsea after losing the owners’ trust last season, with Bruno Saltor and then Frank Lampard picking up the pieces on an interim basis.
Pochettino reportedly endured a rocky relationship with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in the final months before his sacking in 2019, while the 51-year-old’s spell at Paris Saint-Germain also ended in his dismissal last year.
– ‘I trust in the owner’ –
Adamant that he had no problems with a collaborative relationship with his employers, Pochettino said: “They were very honest with me. They showed the plan, all the good and not so good things that need to happen.
“I trust in the owner that they are going to provide the tools to be competitive.
“I’m not a coach that needs to ask for power. I need to show they can trust me. They need to really believe in my judgement and that is my job. That is the biggest power you can have.”
Handed a bloated squad after 12 months of lavish spending under the new ownership, Pochettino has quickly rubber-stamped a host of departures.
Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kai Havertz, Cesar Azpilicueta and Mateo Kovacic have all left, with Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku and Villarreal striker Nicolas Jackson the only new recruits so far.
“The most important priority is to finish the squad, to have a very balanced squad. In the plan, the club also wanted to reduce the numbers,” he said.
Pochettino’s association with Chelsea’s London rivals Tottenham — where he spent five years and reached the 2019 Champions League final — has led some to suggest he will come under fire from Blues fans if his side struggle.
But he said he never had any doubts about accepting the job and admitted he had a point to prove to Tottenham.
“Always. This is our motivation. We try to prove we are right, that is part of our nature,” he said.
“I’m very proud of my past but now I need to look forward. This is a club that only talks about winning.
“If you don’t win at a club like Chelsea for sure you are going to struggle.”
In a pointed message to the Chelsea hierarchy, he highlighted the sustained success Pep Guardiola has delivered in a stable environment at treble-winners Manchester City.
“It’s amazing to see how a club works for many years with stability, giving the tools and resources to the coach,” Pochettino said of City.
“We need to believe that we can create good things. We need to believe we can compete with a team like City.”