Mauricio Pochettino appointed Chelsea head coach on two-year contract

Chelsea have turned to Mauricio Pochettino (PA)
Chelsea have turned to Mauricio Pochettino (PA)

Mauricio Pochettino has been appointed Chelsea head coach on a two-year deal.

The former Tottenham manager, who has been out of work since leaving Paris St Germain last year, will take over from interim boss Frank Lampard – who oversaw his final game in charge against Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday.

It brings to an end an almost two-month process to find a permanent successor to Graham Potter, who was sacked on April 2.

The PA news agency understands Pochettino had been the club’s first choice from early in the search, which was led by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.

He was the only candidate the club got into serious talks with, despite conversations that took place with former Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann, ex-Spain coach Luis Enrique and Burnley’s Vincent Kompany.

It is understood that, contrary to reports that Pochettino had sought reassurances about the running of the club behind the scenes, he has been satisfied from early in the process that he could work within Chelsea’s sporting structure.

Chelsea v Newcastle United – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
Frank Lampard was Chelsea’s interim manager as they sought a permanent replacement for Graham Potter (PA)

Stewart and Winstanley said in a statement: “Mauricio’s experience, standards of excellence, leadership qualities and character will serve Chelsea Football Club well as we move forward.

“He is a winning coach, who has worked at the highest levels, in multiple leagues and languages. His ethos, tactical approach and commitment to development all made him the exceptional candidate.”

The new boss, whose contract includes an option for a third season, will work closely with the co-sporting directors as the club look to rebuild after their worst season in 30 years.

Since Potter was removed and Lampard handed the reins, Chelsea have lost eight of their 11 games, winning only once.

They were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid at the quarter-final stage, and a 12th-place finish – their lowest since 1996 – means they will not play in Europe next season.

Lampard said on Sunday that working with a bloated squad of 34 first-team players was the most challenging thing he faced at Stamford Bridge.

One of Pochettino’s first tasks will be deciding who of that number are part of his plans and who can leave, with the club under pressure to sell players in order to satisfy Financial Fair Play rules after spending around £600million on transfers in the last 12 months.