Mauricio Pochettino ready for talks over future of Chelsea players and staff

Mauricio Pochettino gesticulates on the touchline
Mauricio Pochettino is in the dark over his Chelsea future amid silence from the owners - AFP/Darren Staples

Mauricio Pochettino is ready to open talks over which players Chelsea should retain next season with players and staff fighting for futures in the final part of the Premier League campaign.

The Chelsea manager has insisted everyone at Stamford Bridge is on trial from the top down, with his own position far from certain, but decisions are also to be made over the squad for 2024/25.

Gary Neville branded them the “billion-pound bottle jobs” after losing the Carabao Cup final, but Pochettino saw character at the weekend when his players fought back from two goals down to earn a draw at Champions League-chasing Aston Villa.

He expects the final five games of the season to shape summer plans. While co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have gone cold on communication with Pochettino, the manager remains open to discussions over players although nothing has been scheduled yet.

“Yes, of course. We need to assess the players and project for the future,” said Pochettino. “But of course the owners, the sporting director and us, we will need to talk. We are open to talk, and will see when we will talk.”

Chelsea players looked like they were playing for their places at Villa Park with their stunning comeback on Saturday evening. Noni Madueke was their most dangerous attacking threat and pulled a goal back before Conor Gallagher levelled.

“We are still on a journey to keep improving and nowhere near where we want to be as a club,” said Gallagher afterwards. He has captained Chelsea this season and embodied fighting spirit at Villa, although he is entering the final year of his contract and would represent pure profit if sold after coming through the Academy.

Decisions such as Gallagher’s future will be important when the window opens. Pochettino has called his squad immature at times this season but there have been hints of players maturing together.

Moises Caicedo had one of his better performances at Villa, while Cole Palmer’s emergence has given Chelsea a player to build their attack around.  “Not only Moi, the whole team was good,” said Pochettino after the 2-2 draw. “The performance was good from the whole team. The team showed good character. But Moi also was good of course.”

Pochettino has previously talked about the squad needing improvement despite the huge spend in the Boehly-Eghbali era. Thiago Silva limped off and is out of contract at the end of the season. Nicolas Jackson put in a good performance but his confidence in front of goal has gone and he hit the post with his clearest opportunity.

A decision will be made on the manager himself, with his team’s form wildly fluctuating. It is a manager’s market this summer with Rubin Amorim catching the eye, while Roberto De Zerbi has shown how quickly he can implement his style on a squad during his time at Brighton. Even ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has announced he will leave Bayern Munich so it promises to be a summer merry-go-round. At least Pochettino can point to his players fighting for him – and their own futures – when looking at the Villa Park result.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.