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Pochettino interview: Opens up on Chelsea move, backs Caicedo to deliver & more

Pochettino interview: Opens up on Chelsea move, backs Caicedo to deliver & more

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that the Chelsea project painted an attractive picture and played a key role in luring him to Stamford Bridge at the start of the summer.

The former Tottenham Hotspur manager pledged his allegiance to the Blues over a three-year deal and confessed being back in the Premier League makes him feel ‘alive’.

“We all have our pasts, our lives,” Pochettino said in an interview with Premier League legend Alan Shearer (via The Athletic). 

“To be honest, [Chelsea’s interest] didn’t come as a surprise because we were in PSG when the interest appeared, and we considered maybe moving here. 

“It was a very good connection between the owners and the sporting director, and it was very exciting to see a project like this.

“We were waiting for that and a club like Chelsea, and we took the decision to move here, even knowing it’s going to be difficult because of our past with Southampton and Tottenham.”

It has not been a fairytale start to life at Stamford Bridge for Pochettino after his team picked up just one point from his opening two games.

The Blues were dominant in their 1-1 draw against Liverpool and largely continued in the same vein against West Ham United, but they weren’t clinical enough and fell to a dismal 3-1 defeat.

“It was a good start against Liverpool with many positives, and then we didn’t translate all those positives to West Ham,” Pochettino added.

“We started well, but then we didn’t compete in the way the game demanded, and we were not clinical.

“We just need to settle everything, to able to play in a different way, to be more compact, to sometimes be more naughty, to be more competitive.”

Since the new owners arrived, Chelsea has invested approximately £900 million in the transfer market. However, further spending is anticipated, given that the squad still lacks certain crucial profiles.

The team undoubtedly possesses abundant quality, yet it falls to Pochettino to nurture cohesion and consistency to propel the Blues towards victory – a sentiment the manager firmly emphasises.

“Chelsea is about winning,” Pochettino said. “The history is about winning, and the expectation is to win. We cannot give excuses to the players.

“We need to create a solid structure for them to perform in the way they’ve performed before. It’s important to give them time to settle in the team and the area with their families.

“But I have no doubt that with a lot of really hard work, we are going to create a very good team that is going to compete for big things and put Chelsea back in the place it deserves to be.”

Moises Caicedo, who joined Chelsea this summer for a British record £115m fee, had a nightmare debut after giving away a penalty in the defeat to West Ham.

However, Pochettino remains convinced the 21-year-old is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League and has no doubts he will deliver for the Blues.

“He’s one of the best, or the best midfielder in the Premier League,” Pochettino said. 

“He showed that in Brighton & Hove Albion, but now he needs to show it here, with another kind of pressure. I hope Caicedo can perform as soon as possible, but we need to give him time.”

Chelsea’s matchday squad against West Ham was the youngest in the Premier League this season, which is a deliberate policy by the new owners, who are keen to sign talented youngsters and nurture them into world-class stars.

While Pochettino has wholely embraced the strategy, the Argentine tactician has reiterated that winning titles has to be the long-term goal or else it becomes a failed project.

“Yes, I think it’s a clever decision for the club,” Pochettino said. “It’s going to be a tough, tough job to settle everything, but the future will be bright for Chelsea to have all these talented players together.

“The club is changing the idea that was here in the past. That’s exciting. That is the project – to improve, to perform and of course to win titles.”

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