Chelsea WhatsApp groups ‘in meltdown’ as players left shocked by Mauricio Pochettino exit

Chelsea WhatsApp groups 'in meltdown' as players left shocked by Mauricio Pochettino exit
Cole Palmer enjoyed a memorable season under Mauricio Pochettino - Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Chelsea players were left in shock after Mauricio Pochettino left the club by mutual consent on Tuesday.

Former Chelsea captain John Terry, who still works with the club’s academy, also broke ranks to share his frustration.

Telegraph Sport exclusively revealed the news shortly before 7pm on Tuesday evening, ahead of Chelsea’s announcement, prompting disbelief among the squad. It is understood that players’ WhatsApp groups went ‘into meltdown’ and agents were quick to try to verify the news for their clients.

Pochettino was a popular character among the players, while his staff, particularly assistant Jesus Perez, were well liked and respected. Players had received no clues from Pochettino that he might leave Chelsea, following the final-day victory over Bournemouth that clinched European qualification.

They had assumed that the encouraging end to the season would be enough to secure Pochettino’s future as head coach past this season.

One source told Telegraph Sport: “The players could not believe it. They had no idea until the news broke and it started going around their WhatsApp groups. Most of them really liked Poch, so they were pretty upset.”

Chelsea WhatsApp groups 'in meltdown' as players left shocked by Mauricio Pochettino exit
Moises Caicedo wished Mauricio Pochettino all the best in the future - Instagram/Moises Caicedo

Nicolas Jackson was among the first Chelsea players to publicly share their emotions over Pochettino’s departure on social media. Posting on Instagram, Jackson first uploaded a picture of the pair together alongside a pair of ‘facepalm’ emojis, before later writing: “Love you, coach. Wish we could stay together more. But may God continue to bless you and your family.

“Thanks for the advice and support. You are a true lion and fighter. Wish you all the best.”

Terry took to Instagram to post a message to say he was gutted to see Pochettino, Perez and his son Sebastiano leave Chelsea, and added: “I just hope we don’t sign or sell any players until we get a manager in.”

Cole Palmer, who scored 22 Premier League goals under Pochettino as the club recovered to finish in the European places, wrote: “Gaffer, thank you for everything you have done for me and making my dreams come true. All the best.”

Chelsea’s record signing Moises Caicedo, who scored from the halfway line in Pochettino’s final game in charge, posted a picture of himself with the Argentine along with the message: “Mister! It was a pleasure” followed by a crying emoji. He added: “I wish you all the best for the future. What a person and what a coach.”

Stuttgart’s Sebastian Hoeness, Girona’s Michel, Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna, who has been targeted by Brighton, and Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca are all among the names under consideration to replace Pochettino at Chelsea.

Thomas Frank is another option Chelsea will have on their list of candidates and the Brentford manager hinted he would consider leaving the Gtech Community stadium if the right offer came along.

Frank is also a potential candidate for Manchester United and in an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: “Do we want to win titles? Yes, that would be nice but it’s not do-or-die. I still think it’s possible to win a cup and that’s the aim, to go as far as possible.

“If a big club one day comes to knock on my door, then I need to consider it but it’s not something I’m hunting.”

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