Mauricio Pochettino has called for perspective on the struggles of his Chelsea team, insisting “I cannot lose my hair” over recent poor results.
Sunday’s 4-2 loss at home to Wolves was the 10th in the league since the 51-year-old arrived in the summer and triggered the first audible signs of discontent from fans towards the manager.
Afterwards Pochettino appeared to suggest he believed the players were not good enough to arrest the club’s slide, though he has since clarified he was referring only to the performance in the defeat to Gary O’Neil’s side.
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Chelsea were outrun and out-thought by Wolves who, despite seeing their hosts enjoy greater ball possession, were conformably the more threatening team and they cut through the Blues with relative ease en route to a first win at Stamford Bridge since 1979.
It drew an angry response from supporters near the dugout who booed the players off at half-time and again at the final whistle as the Blues dropped into the bottom half of the Premier League table.
It followed a meek 4-1 collapse away to Liverpool in their previous fixture.
However, Pochettino insisted it was important for a coach in his position to retain a sense of enjoyment in the job even in trying times.
“Football is my passion, not my job,” he said. “Sometimes we say ‘job’ but it’s the wrong word. Football is entertainment.
“If I don’t think like this, I need to go in another position, being a sporting director or CEO or president.
“Being coach, I need to keep a sense of why I am here. We cannot suffer because of business and other things. We need to be focused to play football.
“To be focused in football, you need to feel free in your mind. You cannot be affected because the stock in New York or Tokyo, or the weather or because the farm doesn’t grow.
“That’s why I keep my hair like this, because I don’t suffer from things that I am not in charge of. I only suffer for football, to try to improve the players, to provide them a good platform to win games.
“If there is no rain on my farm, you kill the business of my farm. That is a stress. You can lose your hair. But I cannot lose my hair because we’re not winning because the opponent was better than us.”
With 15 league games to go, Chelsea are just one place higher in the table than they finished last season in what was wildly acknowledged to be an appalling campaign.
They travel to Aston Villa on Wednesday for an FA Cup fourth-round replay.
“I didn’t finish 12th last year, Chelsea did,” said Pochettino. “It is a different squad to last year, many changes. If you want to compare to damage us, to compare things I think is impossible.
“You can compare to try to damage, if you want to make a problem. But to analyse and put all the circumstances, I don’t think that before was better or was worse. It’s difficult to compare because we are in another project.”