Mauricio Pochettino in dark over Chelsea future amid silence from owners

Mauricio Pochettino, who lamented a season of "extremes" for Chelsea after they fell to their biggest defeat in more than five years in Tuesday's loss to Arsenal. Issue date: Wednesday April 24, 2024
Pochettino is on the back foot his side's 5-0 routing by Arsenal on Tuesday - PA Wire/Zac Goodwin

Mauricio Pochettino says he is in the dark over his Chelsea future after revealing communication with the club’s owners has gone cold.

The former Tottenham manager, 52, knows his position as manager has been undermined by Tuesday’s 5-0 thrashing at Arsenal.

Exactly how much, however, he could not say as co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have stopped messaging him, leaving co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley to deal day-to-day with the Argentinian.

“To be honest, in the last few months, we didn’t cross, or message,” said Pochettino when asked about owners who texted to show support after a defeat in the league at home to Wolves in February and again later that month when Chelsea were beaten in the Carabao Cup final by Liverpool.

“We communicated through the sporting directors but nothing has changed,” he added. “We are not changing my view or my feeling, even though in the last few weeks we are not crossing texts.”

Pochettino, who became the permanent replacement for Graham Potter last summer, has been hit hard by a constant stream of injuries to a predominantly young squad. Premier League top-scorer Cole Palmer has recovered from a back problem in time for the trip to Aston Villa but 12 senior team-mates remain unavailable through injury.

Did Stewart and Winstanley accept that this was the main reason for Chelsea languishing in ninth position? Again, Pochettino was unsure.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a good question for them but not for me. But it is the reality. Okay, that is a point that if we are responsible, we are responsible. Maybe we are not responsible in this situation. I cannot answer the question because, to be honest, I don’t know in the way that they are thinking.”

Pochettino made it clear what he felt they ought to be thinking, however. “Football is about supporting each other, trusting each other and to feel the confidence of each other,” he said.

“We need to trust the players and they need to trust in us. The owners need to trust in us, trust in our vision and view. The sporting directors need to understand that we are the people dealing directly with the players and performance and the medical staff.

“Clubs that are winning titles are working in this way. It is about having trust and having a vision that this is the way we need to operate and work.”

Pochettino was adamant that his players, most of whom are senior internationals, should shoulder a portion of the blame for such an inconsistent campaign, arguing that each of them are playing for their Stamford Bridge futures despite most being on lengthy contracts.

“You ask me if the players need to improve, if they deserve to be here? Yes,” he said. “If not it looks like it’s only me not the whole organisation. It should be the whole organisation. I don’t say it’s only me. It shouldn’t be like this.

“Because of the results, you can say, yes it’s just him. But I don’t have the key of the club. I don’t take all the decisions here. That is to be made clear.

“If you say to me I have the key and this guy is here because it’s my decision, that is one thing. But if this is not my decision you need to judge me and judge him in his job, no? Because it’s not my direct responsibility.

“But I accept the game, I accept the rules and that is not in my hands. We try to work and give our best but then it is about time and of course to have some luck in the dressing room.”

By that he means fewer injuries, with World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez’s season having been ended early by groin surgery. England internationals Raheem Sterling, Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Levi Colwill are currently sidelined with expensive recruits Christopher Nkunku, Wesley Fofana, Malo Gusto, Romeo Lavia and Robert Sanchez also unavailable.

Chelsea might still squeeze into a high enough finishing position to qualify for the Europa Conference League - a competition Pochettino insisted was not important enough to be on his radar at the start of the campaign.

If so then that European experience might act as a catalyst to his players’ development - so long as there was not another injury epidemic.

“If you have a fit and healthy squad it always helps you evolve,” Pochettino added. “But if like today we have 12 players out and need to compete Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with the demands of travel for sure it would be too much a demand on a small group of players.”

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