Soccer

Mauricio Pochettino believes he has left Chelsea in a stronger position

The 52-year-old has addressed the Blues’ ownership and supporters via social media.

Mauricio Pochettino said he believes Chelsea are in a stronger position now than before his tenure
Mauricio Pochettino said he believes Chelsea are in a stronger position now than before his tenure (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino believes he left the club in a stronger position than he found it following his Stamford Bridge exit.

Addressing the Blues’ ownership and supporters via social media, the 52-year-old used his first public comments since his departure two weeks ago to highlight improvements made during his single season in the job, after signing off his tenure with five consecutive Premier League wins to qualify for Europe.

It was decided in the days immediately following the campaign that the Argentinian would not continue in the role, after failing to reach agreement with the owners and sporting directors over the limit of his responsibility for football matters.

Mauricio Pochettino enjoyed a good relationship with Chelsea’s squad
Mauricio Pochettino enjoyed a good relationship with Chelsea’s squad (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Despite what was at times a tumultuous year which saw the team spend much of the season in mid-table, there were clear signs during Pochettino’s final months in charge that a young, inexperienced team were progressing under his tenure.

Having taken over following a 12th-placed finish the previous season, he had helped turn a disjointed and unbalanced squad into a coherent team following a £1billion transfer outlay by co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, finishing sixth off the back of a string of excellent displays, most notably in wins at home to Everton, Tottenham and West Ham.

“To the owners, the sporting directors we appreciate the opportunity to return to the Premier League at this great club Chelsea and for the support you gave us, as well as from all the players, staff and fans – thank you,” Pochettino posted on Instagram.

Todd Boehly has overseen a spend of more than £1billion on recruitment since buying Chelsea
Todd Boehly has overseen a spend of more than £1billion on recruitment since buying Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

“We understand how important this football club is to you all and that is why we work so hard to give you a Chelsea you can be proud of.

“I am so pleased with the level the team reached and the way the players and staff have all worked so hard to increase their standards, they deserve great credit and I hope you felt that too in how they performed on the pitch.

“We know there have been ups and downs but we always believed in this team and that we would arrive at a consistent level.

“I believe the experiences of this season and big improvement we saw, I hope will only make the players stronger for the future. It has been a pleasure to work with them all and we appreciate the strong bonds we created in this last year together.”

Chelsea appointed Pochettino’s successor, the former Leicester boss Enzo Maresca, on a five-year deal on Monday.

The 44-year-old Italian will formally start work on July 1, after the owners agreed unanimously with co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart – who led an exhaustive search – that Maresca was their man.

Pochettino added: “I want to wish all of you the best for next season and beyond. It is great that we have the chance to return to Stamford Bridge so soon with SoccerAid this weekend and I hope that we get to see some of you there too.”