Chelsea owners ‘need to support plan' despite rocky run – Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea’s owners must look past their disappointment and back him to implement the plan he was hired to draw up in order to lift the club out of their slump.
Defeat to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday means the team have taken an average of 0.85 points per game over the last 35 matches, three short of a full league season.
Over a single campaign they would have won 32 points, a tally that would have seen them relegated in every Premier League season since the league became 38 games in 1995, and would have left them bottom of the table in five of them.
That run goes back to October 19 last year when the team, then managed by Graham Potter, drew 0-0 away at Brentford.
Pochettino is the fourth manager to have led the side in that period, with Potter having been removed on April 2 and Frank Lampard taking over until the end of the campaign, with a single game in charge for caretaker boss Bruno Saltor.
Despite the turnover of coaches, the Blues have won only six times in the league in the 11 months since, drawing 12, giving them a return of 30 points from 35 games.
The squad assembled by co-owner Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium at a cost of more than £1billion over the last 16 months are currently 14th in the table after six games and have not scored in 285 minutes of play.
Pochettino encouraged supporters to keep faith and focus on the quality of recent performances rather than the club’s relegation form over the last year.
“It’s about learning, it’s about the process,” he said after Ollie Watkins’ second-half goal for Villa condemned his side to their third loss of the season.
“We are a young team (in) a process that they need to learn all together. It’s difficult to talk about positives because when you lose it’s difficult, but we need to talk about positive things.
“No doubt that with time the team is going to perform, but of course now we cannot hide the situation. It’s a situation that disappoints all the fans, the club, us and the players.
“They (the owners) are disappointed, they arrive to the club and (were) so excited to build some project. Of course they feel disappointed, but at the same time they need to support the plan.”
If there was a bright spot for Chelsea it was the return of striker Armando Broja after nine months out with an ACL injury.
The Albania international came off the bench in the second half and headed wide in the closing minutes as the team sought an equaliser.
“It was good to see Broja after nine, 10 months,” said Pochettino. “Again I think to have the possibility to have different options is good for the team. But he needs to build his confidence also.”
Watkins’ goal was his first in the league this season and the striker admitted it was a weight off his shoulders.
“The first one is always hard to get,” Watkins told VillaTV.
“I’m delighted to get off the mark now.
“It’s a bit of a relief, really, because the more the games go by, there’s a lot of talk and pressure.
“But I just try and block that out and I back myself in front of goal no matter what anyone says.
“I’m looking forward to the games coming up now and plenty more goals for the season.”