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Why Pochettino is the Right Man for Chelsea


Why Pochettino is the Right Man for Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino looks on the verge of being named as the next manager of Chelsea. But, will the former Tottenham Hotspur boss be a success at Stamford Bridge, or will he be the wrong choice for The Blues and Todd Boehly?

The 51-year-old has been out of work since he parted ways with PSG in 2022. Since then, he has been rumoured to replace many managers around Europe, with the Argentinian being persistently linked to the job at Manchester United before and after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign and with a move back to Tottenham.


Poch’s Early Career

In Late January 2009, Pochettino's first club managerial-wise was Espanyol, a team he used to play for as a player, doing so between 1994 and 2001, as well as from 2004 to 2006, memorably winning the Copa del Rey in each spell, firstly in 1999/2000 and also doing so in 2005/06.

When he returned to his former club as a coach, Espanyol were third from the bottom and likely to be relegated from La Liga. Despite only getting his UEFA Pro Licence one month prior, his task was to get Espanyol out of the relegation zone by the end of the season.

His system saw them play high-pressing football while utilising one-on-one defensive cover. This style of play got him an unexpected 0-0 draw against their derby Barcelona, who were coached by Pep Guardiola coached at the time.

The players bought into his way of playing, incredibly got them out of the relegation zone, and finished the season mid-table. He even beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou 2-1, Espanyol's first win in the Camp Nou for 27 years.

Pochettino led his team to another mid-table finish in his second season at the club. However, in November 2012, Espanyol was bottom of the league with nine points in 13 games. Pochettino parted ways with Espanyol at the end of that month. Despite, the disappointing end of his Espanyol career, Pochettino had drawn praise from many journalists and fans, showing characteristics that would indicate he could be a top manager.

In January 2013, Pochettino was appointed as manager of Southampton. Despite not speaking English, Pochettino worked well with the players and got them playing high-pressing football from the get-go, beating big clubs like Liverpool 3-1 and Chelsea 2-1, both games were at home.

Pochettino got the Saints to an eighth-place finish in his first season, It was their highest league finish in the Premier League since 2002-2003, of which he played an attractive brand of football while developing a series of young players such as Adam Lallana, Morgan Schneiderlin, Luke Shaw and more. Ultimately, Pochettino's great work for Southampton earned him a move to Tottenham in 2014.

Track Record of Improving Young Players

Pochettino's best spell as a manager was his time at Tottenham. The 51-year-old was renowned for giving youth a chance, he also had a good track record of improving young players like Toby Alderweireld, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane.

Pundits and fans saw some of these players at the spine of the England team heading into Euro 2016 in France and for years to come. In a press conference, the Argentine said, “I’m not afraid to play them”. “If a player deserves to play, if they are 17, 18, 19 or 20 it’s the same for us, if a player deserves to play and show character and maturity to be given the responsibility. But for that, you need to build the player.”

During his time at Tottenham, Pochettino took Spurs to the next level. He regularly got them into the Champions League which massively boosted the club's finances and reputation on top of taking them on many cups runs both domestically and in Europe. Spurs made it to the League Cup final in 2014/15, as well as to the FA Cup semi-finals in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Memorably, Pochettino took Tottenham to their first-ever Champions League final after beating Ajax 3-3 on away goals. His team was 3-0 down on aggregate at half time in the second leg of the semi-finals, but a Lucas Moura hat-trick took Spurs to the final; however, they failed to get over the final hurdle, losing the final in Madrid 2-0 to Liverpool.

How His Style Will Suit Chelsea’s Squad

Todd Boehly is desperate to rebuild his Chelsea team and has committed a lot of money in doing so, investing in potential future stars such as Noni Madueke, Enzo Fernandez, Benoit Badiashille and more, something that should give his project longevity if all goes to plan.

Pochettino is seen to be the right man for the job because he has a track record of improving young players and has dealt with big egos; he got this experience working at PSG, dealing with a big squad filled with various household names all wanting to play, such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria, Messi, etc. What made it harder for Pochettino was they all played in similar positions, so fitting them all in was a big task for him and effectively meant that his side lacked balance.

Another thing that Todd Boehly is looking for is a manager that has won trophies in his career. Pochettino won trophies at PSG, winning the league and the French Cup in his two seasons at the club. It is vital that Chelsea have a manager that has the capability to win trophies while developing a young squad.

Something that should also be noted is that Pochettino managed through awkward circumstances at Tottenham, with the cub committing large amounts of money to build their current stadium. The club moved from White Hart Lane to Wembley in 2017 before heading to its new stadium, The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in 2019. During the 2018/19 season, Spurs spent no money in either transfer window and reached the Champions League final under his stewardship.

On top of this, the 51-year-old also has plenty of experience working in the Premier League and Champions League and with significantly more financial backing than that he had a Tottenham, Pochettino could potentially make the Stamford Bridge club into a side that is capable of competing at the top of the Premier League in the near future.

How will this Affect his Legacy at Tottenham?

In recent years, it has tended to be that ex-Chelsea managers join Tottenham rather than vice versa, with Andre Villas-Boas, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte all doing so, however, in this case, it could sour the relationship between the Argentinian and the fans that once adored him.

Pochettino has had some great memories at Tottenham despite not winning anything. The people that run the club have massive respect for him after what he has done for them, while the fans blatantly still have a like for him and many wanted to see him return to the club, with many blaming the club’s ownership for not providing the Argentinian with extra funds.

However, if Pochettino were to manage Chelsea at the end of the season, it would affect his legacy at Tottenham. Many Spurs fans would see this as a betrayal of their club as the two clubs have a big rivalry in London. It's likely that he will become the next Chelsea manager, so Tottenham fans will have to get used to him at Stamford Bridge very soon.

One thing that fans of the Lilywhites will be desperate not to happen, is that their star striker Harry Kane becomes tempted to move across to Chelsea with just one year remaining on his current Tottenham contract. This is when considering the vast amount of money that Boehly has spent on the club and their current need for a clinical striker that can link-up play.