Mauricio Pochettino says the expectation on his Chelsea team is “different from the reality” and has called for “patience” among the club’s supporters after a difficult week.
Chelsea were beaten 4-1 by Liverpool on Wednesday night, then were humbled 4-2 by Wolves on Sunday as the pressure ramped up on Pochettino, who has guided his side to 11th place so far in the Premier League.
Pochettino’s side were booed off at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon and the Argentine head coach says the “patience has never arrived” since he joined the club in the summer.
“I am a head coach, a head coach. Sometimes we can make mistakes. That is football. That happens, we need to keep moving and being strong,” he said in a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay at Aston Villa.
“We have a very good group of players, but for different reasons, as we have explained from the beginning of the season, we are not performing in the way that the people expect.
“And when the expectation is different from the reality, it’s difficult to get what you deserve. That’s why the patience has never arrived.”
Pochettino also feels criticism of his side over the last few days has been unfair, highlighting a lack of noise when Liverpool lost to Arsenal on Sunday. Chelsea are 20 points behind the table-topping Reds in the Premier League.
“When we lost to Liverpool, it was: massive fail, oh look at Chelsea, how bad it is. [When] Liverpool lost to Arsenal, I didn’t hear anything. But it was a similar result to when we played against Liverpool,” Pochettino said.
“That is affecting the players, because this team needs confidence. We need the support and our fans need to be behind Chelsea. The people need to realise that situation. We cannot send any different messages.”
The Chelsea head coach has called for more time this season to “build a team” – and hinted that his team’s issues go further than just on-pitch matters.
“We are demanding the support to the team, the players, I know the quality,” he added. “We know the quality of the players. The only problem is: it takes time to build a team. That is the reality, the fans need to be patient.
“We need to find a way to succeed, do many things we need to fix before we talk about tactics and football. We are trying to fix all the things, as soon as possible we are going to perform and be in the position that the club deserves.”
Poch: My relationship with Silva is good after wife’s tweet
Pochettino also addressed the media about the tweet released on X from Thiago Silva’s wife, stating that the Blues boss should be axed by the club, in the wake of Sunday’s loss to Wolves.
Responding to the tweet, Potchettino replied: “He [Silva] came to me today to talk about. I don’t want to talk about it about the ways it’s being talked about.
“He came and wanted to talk to me. After more than 10 years, you know me and my coaching staff are strong.
“We know how to operate when things like these happen. Thiago came to talk and we talked. The matter is private and that’s it. It stays with me.
“It’s good, it’s very good [our relationship]. I think it’s successful and always has been since the beginning. In my press conferences and you can see that by the way I talk about him.”
After a poor run of form and Chelsea’s history of managerial dismissals, there has been a lot of speculation surrounding the owners’ support for the Blues head coach.
However, Pochettino insists his relationship with the hierarchy at the club is as positive as it could be.
“I’ve had a few texts from them, but I think we are all together in this and that’s the most important thing. They’re in contact with me and the sporting director,” said the former Tottenham boss.
“For different reasons we are just not performing on the pitch. The most important thing in football is to trust and we need to find the trust amongst the coaching staff and players, because they need to perform on the pitch.”
Chelsea remain stubbornly poor – are they much better under Poch?
Are Chelsea any better off now than when they removed Graham Potter 10 months ago?
Comparisons are timely because Mauricio Pochettino has now had 31 games in charge – the same number of fixtures that Potter managed before he was sacked.
Chelsea were 11th in the Premier League table then – exactly where they are now. The records of the two managers are remarkably similar. Both managers lost 11 matches in that period – Pochettino has turned two more draws into wins.
But Potter’s final five games in charge of Chelsea saw only one defeat and three wins – including one over Borussia Dortmund that took them to the Champions League quarter-finals.
Pochettino’s last five results have seen two heavy defeats to Wolves and Liverpool, and two wins against Luton and Middlesbrough, though victory over the latter has taken Chelsea into this month’s League Cup final.
There is no suggestion Pochettino is under any immediate danger of the sack – but Potter was released with a very similar record, despite Boehly stating the former Brighton boss was appointed because he shared the owners’ philosophy: to oversee a long-term development project. That project lasted seven months.
Pochettino’s Chelsea has scored many more goals in those 31 games (54 to Potter’s 33), but the team has conceded many more goals too (43 to Potter’s 31).
Potter’s Chelsea kept two more clean sheets (11 to Pochettino’s nine), though the team’s passing accuracy has improved slightly under the Argentine – 88 per cent pass completion compared with 86 per cent when Potter was in charge.
But the ultimate statistic shows that none of Chelsea’s three managers appointed by Clearlake have won enough matches. Potter’s win percentage was 36 per cent, Frank Lampard’s nine per cent and Pochettino’s is currently 45 per cent.
Lampard’s record, sandwiched in between Potter and Poch, was even more disappointing:
Watch Chelsea’s next Premier League game – a trip to Crystal Palace – live on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football on February 12 from 6.30pm; kick-off 8pm
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