Chelsea must be patient with manager, says Chris Sutton

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Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea must be patient with manager Mauricio Pochettino despite their struggles this season, says the club’s former striker Chris Sutton.

The Blues were booed off after Sunday’s 4-2 home defeat by Wolves, which followed a 4-1 loss at Liverpool.

Those results have left Chelsea 11th in the Premier League with 10 defeats in 23 games, despite another heavy outlay on players last summer.

“It is easy to say you need to change manager,” Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“If you look at the job Pochettino did at Tottenham, eventually he got there.

“Certainly there needs to be patience with the manager.”

Todd Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital took over Chelsea in May 2022 and sacked Thomas Tuchel on their 100th day in charge in September 2022 after three defeats at the start of the 2022-23 season.

He was replaced with Graham Potter, who was fired the following April with the side 11th in the league – the same position the Blues currently sit in under Argentine Pochettino.

Chelsea spent more than £380m last summer – the most of any club in Europe – and more than £1bn in four transfer windows since the current ownership took over in 2022, mostly to purchase young players signed on long contracts.

“They have no choice but to hang on in there, trust Pochettino and hope he gradually improves them,” Sutton told 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.

“When you spend that kind of money you would expect the team to be slicker and better than they are at this moment in time.

“They do have an identity – they want to press high and be brave on the ball playing out from the back – but are a team low on confidence.

“They have made tiny bit of progress if you compare it to last season but last season was so bad it was impossible not to do that.”

Former Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given also said Pochettino, who finished second and reached a Champions League final with a young side during his tenure at Tottenham, should not be sacked.

“You can’t just keep sacking the manager,” he said. “Tuchel was regarded as one of the best managers in world football.

“There has to be something else going on behind the scenes because you have had some good managers in there.”

But former Blues winger Pat Nevin said Chelsea are playing like a side “built by an algorithm”.

“They don’t work together, it’s very, very staccato the way they try and play,” the Scot told BBC World Service’s Sport Today.

“There’s no great understanding and it does look like you’ve got all promising players in various positions, but have you considered how they might work together? Because it doesn’t really look that way.”

Pochettino says ‘young’ players need support

Chelsea have made 28 signings since Boehly and Clearlake took over at Chelsea and this season have the youngest squad in the Premier League.

But not since the 1993-94 season have the Blues suffered 10 defeats after 23 games of a league campaign.

Pochettino apologised to the supporters after the Wolves defeat, while captain Ben Chilwell said it is “on us” as players.

“It’s managing the game,” the England full-back told Match of the Day. “It’s maybe a bit of naivety to be honest.

“We need to make sure if we do concede, we regroup and the game in the next five or 10 or 15 minutes doesn’t go the other team’s way which happens too often to us.”

Pochettino said his players “need support” from the Stamford Bridge crowd.

“The fans will be right to criticise and be angry if the performance is not good,” he said. “But it’s important [to remember] the players are young. They need support.”

Post from Silva’s wife ‘does not help situation’

Chelsea fan Will Faulks, from the website Chelsea News, said the respite Pochettino earned with league wins against Crystal Palace, Luton and Fulham, plus cup victories over Middlesbrough and Preston has “evaporated”.

“The Chelsea boss has been dealt a bad hand – but he has played it very poorly, of that there can be no doubt,” he said.

“He’s had to contend with endless injuries and an unbalanced and inexperienced squad assembled in a disastrous manner. Yet even taking that into account, the results he has managed are not good enough considering the players at his disposal.”

Following the Wolves defeat, centre-back Thiago Silva’s wife posted an apparent criticism of Pochettino on social media.

“It’s time to change. If you wait any longer it will be too late,” she posted on X, along with two blue heart emojis.

Shortly before Potter was sacked last year she liked a tweet which called the Englishman a “deadbeat” manager who “doesn’t know what he is doing”.

Sutton said the post “does not the help situation”.

“It is absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “It is something the club and Pochettino doesn’t need.

“He has had a poor season. The team has had a poor season. It is not going to help the situation.”

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