Pochettino leaves Chelsea after one season

Mauricio Pocettino
Mauricio Pochettino took charge of 51 matches at Chelsea [Getty Images]

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has left the club by mutual consent after one season at Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino, 52, took charge of Chelsea on 1 July, signing a two-year contract with the option of a further 12 months.

The Argentine was under pressure after an underwhelming first half of the season but a run of five successive wins to end the season ensured they finished sixth in the Premier League.

Chelsea were also runners-up in the Carabao Cup and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

"Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and sporting directors for the opportunity," Pochettino said.

"The club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come."

Chelsea will now search for a successor and have expressed recent interest in Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna, Sporting’s Ruben Amorim and Burnley’s Vincent Kompany.

BBC Sport understands Chelsea are unlikely to go for Leicester City manager Enzo Maresca, a former assistant coach with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. A return for former managers Jose Mourinho or Thomas Tuchel is not on the cards as the club targets a young head coach.

Pochettino was Chelsea's sixth permanent manager in five years, following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, which led to Frank Lampard taking charge on a temporary basis at the end of the 2022-23 season.

"On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season," sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.

"He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career."

Coaches Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jimenez and Sebastiano Pochettino have also left.

Amicable exit and no fan mutiny

Pochettino, whose tenure ended just short of 12 months, is understood to have departed on very amicable terms; he felt leaving was the right decision following discussions with senior club officials.

He had been seen as the man to mould Chelsea into credible title contenders again after their £747m expenditure on transfers during the 2022-23 campaign.

The Argentine also enjoyed a significant budget, with a further £400m-plus spent on players, including Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson, Moises Caicedo and Christopher Nkunku.

Chelsea have spent more than £1bn on transfers since Todd Boehly's takeover in May 2022, and were described by Sky Sports pundit and former England defender Gary Neville as "billion-pound bottle-jobs" after losing the Carabao Cup final against a weakened Liverpool side.

In March, Pochettino, who led Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2018-19, addressed booing from some sections of the Stamford Bridge crowd, who chanted the name of former manager Jose Mourinho during a 2-2 draw with Brentford.

He said: "Maybe if I was a fan, I'd be the same because we are not matching the expectation."

He appeared to win back some support following a 6-0 thrashing of Everton in April and a 5-0 victory against West Ham in May, although Chelsea did fall to a 5-0 loss at Arsenal in between those two results.

While there will be shock among some fans, Pochettino was booed on several occasions this season. There will not be any mutiny at another managerial change.

Pochettino struggled to win over supporters, with positive comments about his former club Tottenham, his calm demeanour and mixed results all contributing to an indifferent atmosphere among fans, with many disliking the Argentine.

Why has this happened?

Nizaar Kinsella, BBC Sport football news reporter

Pochettino’s departure from Chelsea will surprise many but the situation had been on a knife edge.

Even though they had finished the Premier League season with a five-game winning run, there was huge uncertainty behind the scenes.

Chairman Boehly had called for patience and met the Argentine on Friday before the final game of the season.

But less was known about the opinions of other senior board members, including most notably, co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali.

In reality, Eghbali is the key decision-maker at Stamford Bridge and will have been a crucial voice in the end-of-season meeting.

He has been in London with fellow Clearlake Capital co-founder and board member Jose Feliciano since Chelsea won the Women’s Super League on Saturday.

They, along with the two sporting directors Winstanley and Stewart, will have been the loudest voices in the room despite support from the squad and senior staff for Pochettino.

Of course, this is an ending by mutual consent, and signs of discontent from Pochettino were apparent at press conferences.

Pochettino aired concerns about injuries and the composition of his young, inexperienced squad, which exposed the decision-makers to criticism.

Privately, he is understood to have been open to continuing depending on the outcome of the post-season meeting, but also to have aired concerns in the final weeks of his tenure.

'Thanks for making my dreams come true' - players react

Several Chelsea players took to social media after the announcement on Tuesday night.

Cole Palmer, who was Chelsea's top scorer this season, said: "Gaffer, thank you for everything you have done for me and making my dreams come true. All the best."

Team-mate Marc Cucurella said: "Thank you for everything mister. Good luck in the future."

Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke were among others who posted thanks to Pochettino on Instagram.