Pochettino struggling to connect with Chelsea fans as Cup replay looms

His team were booed after a 4-2 home loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers

Reuters
Published : 6 Feb 2024, 03:21 PM
Updated : 6 Feb 2024, 03:21 PM

Successive Premier League defeats in which eight goals have hit the back of the Chelsea net have raised the volume in the debate about Mauricio Pochettino's job prospects at Stamford Bridge.

His team were booed after a 4-2 home loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday and fans even chanted the name of Chelsea's former serial-winning manager Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea visit high-flying Aston Villa in an FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday when another defeat would pile more pressure on Pochettino.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, the Argentine was quizzed on his post-Wolves remarks when said his expensively-assembled players had not been good enough and was also required to respond to social media comments made by the wife of Thiago Silva calling for change at the club.

It made for an uncomfortable lunchtime for a manager who is still grappling with a new Chelsea project which has seen more than one billion pounds spent on signings since Todd Boehly took over at Stamford Bridge in May 2022.

Chelsea sit 11th in the Premier League and although they have a League Cup final against Liverpool to look forward to this month, Pochettino appears no closer to solving the puzzle he inherited when he accepted the job.

Pochettino, however, insists he has the support of the owners and has no issues with any of his players.

"I haven't (heard) anything in another way. I received very good texts from them," former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris St Germain coach Pochettino told reporters. "I think we are all together in this and that's important.

"Of course, I am in contact with them and the sporting director every day."

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Part of the problem for Pochettino is failing to establish a recognisable style for a group of players who arrived with massive price tags but little Premier League nous -- the likes of Moises Caicedo, Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk and Nicolas Jackson who have all struggled for consistency.

Another issue is that senior players like Raheem Sterling and Thiago are under-performing.

While the atmosphere has not turned toxic for Pochettino, an apathy has descended on Stamford Bridge this season with fans still to be convinced about the club's decision to invest in raw talents rather than over-ready trophy winners.

"We need to make a good connection with them. The fans need to understand, when you go to Stamford Bridge it is a different Chelsea and project and everything," Pochettino said.

"The fans need from us to see that we really care and the players care, and I promise you and fans that the players want to perform and win games. The fans need to trust in us. We need to provide the calm for the players to feel free to play."

Asked whether he had spoken to Thiago Silva regarding his wife's apparent criticism, Pochettino added: "The important thing is he came and wanted to talk with me. We talk, that was private and that was it."