In a recent interview with the Obi One Podcast Hosted by former Chelsea great John Obi Mikel, ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ John Terry told how he reacted after his side’s loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup when controversial mid-season appointment Rafael Benitez was at the helm of the Blues. “Nah, nah. That’s not accepted here at Chelsea. Liverpool that’s accepted maybe, losing a quarter-final but not at Chelsea.” This is the kind of mentality that helped Chelsea be arguably the best club in England and one of the best in Europe.
So, when Mauricio Pochettino upon his appointment expressed what it means to be the head coach of Chelsea Football Club, fans were pretty happy to see that the Argentine understood the mentality and philosophy of the club after a very very tough 2022-23 season which saw the club finish 11th.
“In football, there is no patience. It is difficult to wait, and when you are in Chelsea, I believe it is not about asking for time — you need to deliver from day one. Football is about today, yesterday. You cannot talk too much long-term. We cannot tell people we need six months to create because it seems not good. We need to create the belief from the beginning.
“We have players that can deliver in the short-term. Of course, I can do a good job, play well and in our style and culture but, of course, it’s to win. If you don’t win in a club like Chelsea, for sure, you are going to suffer. I don’t want to make excuses or talk about the past.”
But now that reality has replaced the optimism, the head coach has somewhat been toning down the expectations and this is a problem!
It is easy to sympathize with Poch due to a lot of external circumstances harming the team’s performances like a very confusing transfer strategy by BlueCo, injuries, bad luck & the youth of the squad but a lot of things could have been worked upon by the head coach like defensive mistakes and has lamented the team’s inability to take their chances. It has been clear and evident for quite some time that goalscoring has been a major concern for the two-time Champions League winning team.
The team is able to create good quality chances but is just unable to put it in the back of the net and the game against Brentford was the 14th scoreless game in 2023, which matched a Premier League club record set in 1995. The team has scored 12 goals out of a possible 19 expected goals, the second biggest underperformance after Everton.
Stamford Bridge is hardly a fortress anymore after managing just a victory against Luton Town in the league this season, collecting a disappointing five points from six matches. No wonder there were boos from fans at the full-time whistle after the defeat against Brentford.
Mauricio Pochettino needs to find the fix to his issues at Chelsea as the next five fixtures are probably the most testing phase of the campaign with an away fixture against Tottenham this Monday, followed by a visit by the treble winners, Manchester City, two away games at Newcastle United and Manchester United followed by a home fixture by the Seagulls. Arguably the West London side have done a really good job when it comes to big fixtures as evident by their brilliant performances against Liverpool & Arsenal but it’s the team who deploy a low block against them where they have struggled the most.