Mauricio Pochettino gives stark assessment of Chelsea progress in plea for time

Mauricio Pochettino gives stark assessment of Chelsea progress in plea for time

Mauricio Pochettino has urged fans to see that Chelsea’s project needs “time” and “clear leadership”, citing Manchester City under Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool as examples to follow.

The Argentine manager saw his team booed off after the 4-2 defeat at home to Wolves on Sunday, with his position having been questioned since the defeat.

Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital have also come under fire for giving Pochettino a squad incapable of competing at the highest level with the Blues now 11th in the Premier League table.

Ahead of a trip to face Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday night, Pochettino urged those questioning him to understand that he needs more time.

“We always need time and we are building from zero,” Pochettino told reporters. “Sometimes it looks like you move forward, but sometimes you need to go back because some problems appear.

“You should think it is going to be good, but after it, it is maybe better to go for [something else]. It always takes time. Look at the project of Manchester City or Liverpool.

“It’s always about time. It’s about time and about a very clear leadership like Pep or Jurgen. It’s so clear from there you build all these projects.”

Pochettino referred back to Chelsea's dismal injury record and explained how one of his players needed a “two or three-hour” chat after training amid the pressure the team are facing.

“I always told you the reality is from the beginning, we were not playing with too many players because they were injured,” he added. “Now they have returned and look what happened after 70, 75 minutes in the last game. We have [Ben Chilwell] and Malo Gusto; they were injured, Chilly for a long period, Malo for a shorter period than Chilly but also injured – 70 minutes, and they have cramp.

“At the end, important players need time. We were not lucky. Maybe other teams with different projects perform better than us. But it's difficult to explain and justify all the situations that happen in our club.

“If you are clever, analyse the situation, and you will see sometimes, in some games, we show this lack of energy that you need to win. If you sometimes miss the energy in the Premier League, it is a tough situation for you.”

As his players struggle under the weight of expectation, Pochettino says his surviving hairline and lack of grey hairs show that he is handling the pressure.

“To be focused on playing football, you need to be free in your mind,” he added. “You can’t be affected because of the stock market in New York or Tokyo, or the weather in I don’t know where because the farms cannot grow the cereals.

“That is why I keep my hair like this. It’s because I do not suffer for things that I am not in charge of. I only suffer for sport, for football, to try to improve the players, to give them good things. A good platform to win games.

“If there is no rain at my farm, I cannot grow the crops. You kill the business of my family on the farm and they need money. That is stress. With that, you can lose your hair. But I cannot lose my hair because the opponent was better than us.”