Defiant Mauricio Pochettino delivers Jose Mourinho verdict in vow over Chelsea future

Defiant Mauricio Pochettino delivers Jose Mourinho verdict in vow over Chelsea future

A defiant Mauricio Pochettino has said he would “never” quit Chelsea, and believes fans would not have any more “love” for a new manager than they do for him.

Some of Chelsea’s away fans booed Pochettino and chanted for the club to sack him and even replace him with ex-Blues boss Jose Mourinho when Chelsea were trailing Brentford in their eventual 2-2 draw last Saturday.

Pochettino is under pressure for immediate results ahead of Monday’s home match against Newcastle, with Chelsea 11th in the Premier League table and enduring another below-par campaign.

The 52-year-old was keen to remind reporters that the Chelsea squad he has inherited is a different proposition to the teams that won major silverware in the past 21 years, including the 2012 and 2021 Champions League titles.

“Today is a different project”, he said. “It’s a different Chelsea. If you are going to judge us analysing the situation comparing it with the past of Chelsea, for sure, no one is going to succeed. The fans are not going to love another coach any more [than me]. It’s a new project, and people need to understand.

Asked whether he would ever consider quitting as manager, a frustrated Pochettino replied: “No, no, no. Why? Never.”

Pochettino was also quizzed as to whether he thought Mourinho, who was sacked by Roma in January, could do a better job than he is doing as Chelsea manager.

He said: “I respect Jose. He’s my friend and he was amazing for this club. Circumstances are circumstances. We need to keep pushing, believing in us, and accept all the things that came from the fans. Of course, I respect the fans.

“You need to ask the players. If the players believe that with another coach they’ll do better, I am the first to say: ‘Hey, they can go and talk with the owner and the sporting director.’

“But do you see me worried about this? No. Look, is attitude a problem? No. They [the players] are clever enough; you can see in the way they behave and everything that they are behind us. There is no doubt.

“I came here because I knew that it was going to be tough but also knew we were going to need time and belief.”