Mauricio Pochettino’s future at Chelsea looks bleak and while the owners have stated he has their full support, that may not matter for much longer.
After the 2-0 loss to Everton on 10 December, Chelsea won five of their next six games in all competitions, but that mini-revival came to an end on Tuesday night with a 1-0 loss against Middlesbrough in the first-leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie.
The Blues were outplayed by Boro during the first-half of their trip to the Riverside Stadium and were unable to break down Michael Carrick’s side in the second-half as the hosts sat deep and absorbed pressure.
Remarkably, it was a very similar pattern to almost every Chelsea game so far this season: a poor first-half performance in which they were outplayed, followed by a difficult second-half with next-to-no threat when faced against a deep block.
Chelsea enjoyed 72% possession against Middlesbrough, but only five of their 18 shots were on target and they failed to fashion a notable chance during the second period as the hosts sat deep.
Pochettino often struggled against deep blocks at PSG and his tactical acumen hasn’t allowed Chelsea to create chances versus teams who sit on the edge of their penalty area either.
It is an issue that long outdates Pochettino’s time at Chelsea, but he is the man in the spotlight as things stand and is therefore the one responsible right now.
Of course, things would’ve been far different if Cole Palmer was able to finish one of the three big chances he missed in the opening 45 minutes, but Chelsea simply weren’t good enough against mid-table Championship opposition.
Mauricio Pochettino to be sacked?
Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League table and must now mount a comeback during the second-leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Boro on 23 January.
Pochettino will likely still be in the dugout when Carrick’s side travel to Stamford Bridge in two weeks time, but failure to secure a place in the Carabao Cup final could see him lose his job.
Change has been rife at Chelsea since Todd Boehly became owner in 2022 and sacking another manager may not be the answer, but one thing is certain – Pochettino isn’t living up to expectations.
The west London club have spent well over €1 billion on transfers in the past 18 months and while there is a notable injury crisis ongoing, Chelsea’s starting XI against Middlesbrough cost a whopping €464.2m (Thiago Silva, Levi Colwill and Conor Gallagher were all free) and should have cruised to victory.
Instead, they flattered to deceive and Pochettino now faces serious questions regarding his future as the Chelsea head coach.
The Blues have now lost nine games in all competitions this season, while they have only picked up 13 wins, with four of those coming against lower-league opposition.
Chelsea have the most-expensively assembled squad in world football, but they have been subpar this season and the blame, ultimately, falls on Pochettino.
The problem for the Blues is the lack of top quality managers on the market. That fact alone may help Pochettino remain in his job for a little while longer, but Chelsea fans are beginning to lose patience.
Chelsea fans want Mauricio Pochettino to be sacked
Get Mauricio Pochettino sacked TONIGHT #PochOUT
— Cal (@CFC_Cal) January 9, 2024
I know he’s in year 1 with us and I know there’s been loads of injuries but I’m sorry, Pochettino has given this team zero pattens of play & zero identity.
— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) January 9, 2024
Unless you love Chelsea, there is no point watching Chelsea as long as Pochettino is there. Boring. Dull. No passion. No ideas. No patterns. No future.
— CFChris. (@EmenaIo) January 9, 2024
2 consecutive games against lower league opposition, in fact this might be even worse given they have 14 players out. We are going nowhere with Pochettino.
— CFCDaily (@CFCDaily) January 9, 2024
Mauricio Pochettino has got to go, he’s completely lost his mind. Clueless.
— C A R E F R E E (@CarefreeEdition) January 9, 2024
• Players out of position
• Team has no discipline
• SEVERE lack of build up and structure
• Not developing enough players
• Iffy in game management
• Caicedo and Enzo being ruined
• Lack of attacking patterns
• Change in attitude & mentality since pre…
— Pys (@CFCPys) January 9, 2024