Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea: Why will he start in July and what awaits him at Stamford Bridge?

Mauricio Pochettino has finally been officially confirmed as Chelsea’s new manager after signing an initial two-year contract, with the club holding the option to extend his stay until June 2026.

Combined athletics directors Lawrence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said in the statement published on Monday that the Argentine had emerged as the “extraordinary candidate” during their intense search to find a permanent successor to Graham Potter, while the club’s ownership described him as a “scientist”. A trainer with a proven track record.

But the news everyone was anticipating left some key questions unanswered. here, the athlete Will try to answer it.


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Why didn’t Pochettino start work until July 1?

There was surprise in many quarters when it became clear that Pochettino would not officially take over his new role for another month – particularly given the sheer number of decisions Chelsea would have to make in order to shrink a very bloated first-team squad this summer.

The timing is due to the settlement agreement between Pochettino and the former Paris Saint-Germain club, who relieved him of his duties last summer. The Ligue 1 champions have already triggered a pre-existing option in his contract to extend it until the end of the 2022-23 season, so waiting until July 1 is simpler in terms of contractual terms for all parties.

Chelsea plan to be very active in the June transfer market, and are close to bolstering their growing recruitment squad with the appointment of Stoke City’s former Head of Football Operations, Andy Cousins. He, like Pochettino, is expected to start his new job in July.

It is clear that although Pochettino is not yet officially in charge, neither Stewart nor Winstanley will make any first-team decisions without his participation. Chelsea expects the three men to work closely together in the coming months and years.

Pochettino’s opinions of many players didn’t pass on to many players themselves before his appointment was confirmed on Monday, but Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo hinted his wishes were beginning to come true when he revealed that Chelsea had told them loan player Joao Felix is. Not in the plans of the new coach.

Many more conversations of this nature will follow in June as the players and their representatives seek clarification from Stewart and Winstanley on their position.

Joao Felix’s loan move from Atletico Madrid is unlikely to become permanent (Picture: Naomi Becker/Getty Images)

Where is Pochettino now?

At the time of Chelsea’s announcement, Pochettino was in Spain, though he travels back and forth to London regularly.

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When will we hear him speak?

Pochettino’s own words were notably absent from Chelsea’s statement announcing his appointment. But, given the aforementioned contractual issues, don’t expect him to be revealed at a press conference or interviewed by the club’s internal media before 1 July.

This decade seems relatively short. Why is there any reason?

Pochettino’s two-plus-one deal contrasts starkly with the five-year contract handed to Potter in September, but it’s an arrangement that suits both parties.

Chelsea’s perspective is easy to understand. The length of the £12m-a-year ($14.9m) deal awarded to Potter – after spending a record £21.5m ($26.7m) fee to give him and his Brighton backroom staff – has become a source of regret for the club’s ownership within seven months, It would have been a more costly mistake had he not agreed to accept a termination of service for less than the full value of the remainder of his contract.

There’s also the fact that Potter’s support room staff – with the exception of goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts who has been working at Chelsea – are still on gardening leave.

Potter and his first team coach, Bruno Saltour (Photo: Darren Walsh/Chelsea via Getty Images)

Even managers empowered to lead long-term projects rarely last five years at elite clubs, and Pochettino’s shorter contract is evidence that the Chelsea owners have learned from a mistake.

Pochettino would have had no problem accepting such a deal, having already taken over from PSG on an initial 18-month contract with that option for a further year. All parties see this as the start of a relationship that can go beyond the initial term, and renegotiating terms won’t be such a shock in a year or so if all goes well.

When is the start of the pre-season for Chelsea?

Chelsea still need their new manager to sign off the fine print of their pre-season itinerary. The players weren’t given an exact date for their reporting in Cobham, but since the club’s tour of the US officially kicks off with a friendly against Wrexham in North Carolina on July 19, it’s very likely in the first week of that month.

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This would allow Pochettino ample time to get to know his new players at Cobham before taking his team across the Atlantic.

Although there will be no major men’s international tournament this summer, some players may be given time to join Chelsea’s touring squad a little later. Thiago Silva, Enzo Fernandez, Kai Havertz, Mykhailo Modric and Conor Gallagher top a large list of those who could be in their national team squads until mid-June.

Karni Chukwuemica, Andre Santos, Cesare Casady and Gabriel Slonina are all in the Under-20 World Cup which runs until June 11, while Lewis Hall, Levi Colwell, Noni Madueki and Ian Matsen could be on international duty until July 8 if they’re the ones to go the distance in The upcoming European Under-21 Championship.

Chelsea will be in the US for at least two weeks, following Wrexham’s Premier League series fixtures against Brighton, Newcastle and Fulham before sealing out against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago on August 2.

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Will Pochettino talk to Lampard, the outgoing interim coach?

Conversations with Stewart and Winstanley – the latter of whom has been a regular observer of first-team training at Cobham – will give Pochettino an idea of ​​what his final weeks on Chelsea’s soil have been like, but Lampard clarified that too after last Sunday. Draw with Newcastle he is open to giving his feedback directly to the new manager.

“I’m not sure it has to be public, but if someone wants me to leave a note or talk to me, they can pick up the phone anytime they want,” Lampard said. “Obviously there are things that I see that need improvement, but the new coach will see them with his own eyes and he will have a pre-season to work with the team.”

Lampard bids farewell on Sunday (Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

So what is Pochettino walking into?

In short, a mess.

The unmanageable size of Chelsea’s first team has been well documented, and Lampard admitted after the Newcastle game that having so many players contemplating their futures at Stamford Bridge had also hurt dressing-room dynamics going into the final stretch of the 2022-23 season. .

“I think some have been aware of that for a while and it was part of the problem,” he added. “It’s difficult to compete in this league or at this level if some players are in the middle and a lot of them are. That was something.

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“It might be a good thing to come to an end.”

Some of these players may have already moved on by the time Pochettino arrived at Cobham. Others may still be under a cloud of uncertainty, and not allowing these situations to fester within the group will be key if the new Chelsea boss is to establish the positive energy he wants around the training ground.

The other major challenge will be the more traditional pre-season.

Chelsea were not fit enough in 2022-23, a problem that Lampard pointed to throughout his caretaker spell and a point he returned to in his comments after the Newcastle game, where he insisted: “We’re not competitive enough physically.

“Pochettino’s history tells you that he works with clubs at this level. Then let him work with the players to try and create a strong identity in a team that can win more games. These things aren’t always overnight things. We have to be careful with expectations a little bit. There’s a lot of work.” What needs to be done.This is my summary after six weeks – the basics that I talk about constantly.

“Standards sounds like a really simple word but it’s so relevant for this club at the moment. Standards have gone down collectively – I can be honest about that, especially since it’s the last game, I might not see some of them much anymore anyway. It has to be standards.” A club like Chelsea maximum otherwise you wouldn’t be able to compete physically enough. Or you wouldn’t be able to play at a high level or at a high speed like the Premier League demands.”

Sebastiano Pochettino, Tony Jimenez, Pochettino Snr, Jesus Perez and Miguel D’Agostino (Photo: John Perry/Getty Images)

The good news for Chelsea fans is that physical conditioning has always been a focus for Pochettino, and there is plenty of relevant experience in his back-up; Longtime assistant Jesus Perez and the head coach’s son, Sebastiano, are both sports science majors and their immediate focus will be devising a suitable pre-season conditioning program.

This could be the most physically demanding Chelsea club have experienced since Antonio Conte took over. Given the nature of their physical struggles over the past year, few would argue that it wasn’t required.

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(Top photo: Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)

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