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Pochettino claims his flops aren’t living up to Chelsea’s history, but stats show mid-table may be Blues’ real level

AN APOLOGETIC Mauricio Pochettino claims his shambling young team are ‘not matching the history of our club’.

Which suggests the Chelsea boss may need a history lesson himself.

Time is running out for Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea if he cannot turn results around

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Time is running out for Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea if he cannot turn results aroundCredit: Alamy
Managers have not done great since Todd Boehly and Clearlake took over
Managers have not done great since Todd Boehly and Clearlake took over

Because sitting mid-table and reaching a cup final is very much in line with the club’s traditions — if you ignore the 19-year period in which they were funded by Vladimir Putin’s mate, Roman Abramovich.

The Blues faithful were singing for this crony of the warmongering Russian tyrant while their team slipped into the bottom half of the Premier League table with Sunday’s 4-2 home gubbing by Wolves.

Which would hardly have made their £88million Ukrainian winger Mykhailo Mudryk feel wanted, as Putin’s missiles rain down on his homeland.

But while the Blues faithful pine for the days of dirty oil money, Chelsea have already reported themselves to the Premier League for FFP breaches over some of their funding under Abramovich.

While further allegations have also been made about financial wrongdoing during that era.

Go to the Bridge on matchday and you’ll probably find a large proportion of the selfie-stick tourist brigade, as well as some actors filming scenes for one of Todd Boehly’s movies.

And there’ll be many self-entitled younger supporters spoilt by the success of the Abramovich era, when their side won two European Cups and five Premier Leagues.

The older, often more rational, hardcore remember Chelsea playing league games against teams like Shrewsbury in the early 80s, with the colossal Micky Droy leading battles against relegation to the third tier.

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Pochettino finds himself near the bottom in the Chelsea manager rankings for points per game
Pochettino finds himself near the bottom in the Chelsea manager rankings for points per game

It’s not true, as Liverpool fans love singing, that Chelsea ‘ain’t got no history’.

Chelsea have a rich back-story with their own legends, from Roy Bentley and Jimmy Greaves, to Charlie Cooke and Peter Osgood, to Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli.

Under-fire Mauricio Pochettino speaks out after Chelsea hammered 4-2 by Wolves

But before Abramovich, they had been champions of England just once, back in 1955.

During the following four seasons, a young Greaves rattled up an astonishing 124 goals in 157 top-flight matches for a Chelsea team which never finished higher than 11th.

There was a golden era in the early 70s when the Blues won an FA Cup and a Cup Winners’ Cup.

Then Ken Bates oversaw six successful, forward-thinking years, during which Chelsea won four knockout competitions, before he sold up to Abramovich.

That period around the turn of the millennium represented the high tide of Chelsea’s natural level.

Sure, the current Clearlake ownership, led by Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, are very wealthy — but they are also mug punters.

Spending a quarter of a billion on Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez when the man they flogged to Arsenal for £12m, Jorginho, bossed the midfield against Liverpool on Sunday, does not say much for their footballing nous.

The idea Chelsea will naturally return to the elite is naive.

The current owners have spent £1billion but the Premier League changed their rules to tighten up the loophole which let them do so — so-called ‘amortisation’ which allowed the cost of transfers to be spread over the length of a contract.

Now they are lumbered with a number of bang-average players on very long deals, and a squad lacking experience.

Last season, Clearlake assured us they would be patient with Graham Potter but then sacked him after seven months.

This season they have claimed that Pochettino is another ‘long-term project’.

They say Chelsea are a different club now, that the fire-and-fire-again regime of Abramovich is a thing of the past.

But perhaps sacking managers every few months is the only way they can give their supporters a nostalgia fix.

Because Chelsea were only an elite club because of Abramovich and have no divine right to be part of a built-in ‘Big Six’, which no longer exists.

Last season the Blues finished 12th having employed two very good managers in Thomas Tuchel and Potter.

This season, they are 11th under a very good manager in Pochettino.
During that walloping by Wolves, supporters also sang for the third coming of Jose Mourinho.

Even Jesus only came twice, but then what did the Christ man know about parking the bus away at Anfield?

Still, after being sacked by Roma, mid-table in Serie A, perhaps the current-day Mourinho is at Chelsea’s natural level.

Kopp it, Carra

ALLO, allo, allo, what have we here?

It’s Officer Jamie Carragher of the Celebration Police, who’s perturbed that Arsenal got over-excited about beating his beloved Liverpool.

Jamie Carragher slammed Martin Odegaard for his celebration following Arsenal's 3-1 win over Liverpool

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Jamie Carragher slammed Martin Odegaard for his celebration following Arsenal’s 3-1 win over LiverpoolCredit: Getty

The Sky Sports pundit ordered Gunners skipper Martin Odegaard to ‘get down the tunnel’ rather than enjoy a win over the league leaders because his side had just ‘won a game, three points’.

It was OK, though, for Jurgen Klopp to invade the pitch after his team won three points in a Merseyside Derby or to choreograph a mass celebration in front of the Kop after a 2-2 draw with West Brom.

Because that was Liverpool and, as we all well know, for Liverpool ‘This Means More’.

Fair to all, Erik

ERIK TEN HAG has moaned about Premier League Profitability and Sustainability Rules.

They prevented the Dutchman from buying a striker in January without having to “sell another good player” to balance the books.

Yet these Financial Fair Play measures were specifically designed to protect the old elite like Manchester United from the nouveau riche.

So if the manager of that club doesn’t want them, then who does?

Prem’s top

WAS Newcastle 4 Luton 4 the Premier League’s most thrilling match this term?

Or, given the drama of Wolves 3 Manchester United 4, was it even the most exciting of the week?

Was it the best game involving Newcastle this term, or was that their 3-2 home defeat by Manchester City?

And was it the most dramatic one involving Luton, or was that the Hatters’ 4-3 home loss to Arsenal?

I’d plump for the glorious chaos of Chelsea 4 Man City 4 as my match of the season, but I’m willing to listen to arguments for Liverpool 4 Fulham 3 or Man City 3 Tottenham 3.

In short, this league is rarely dull.

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EARLIER in the season, when Wolves were being diddled by VAR every week, we thought all those dodgy decisions might relegate them.

It turns out Gary O’Neil’s side are so good, they could be robbed of a place in Europe instead.

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ENGLAND will be sent off to football’s Euro 2024 with a Wembley friendly against Iceland in June.

The sound of the Viking ‘Thunderclap’ will be ringing in the Three Lions’ ears, to remind them of their last overseas Euros campaign in 2016 — when Iceland humiliated them.

It certainly shows that Gareth Southgate isn’t bothered about bad history.

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SO the 2026 World Cup will see EVERY quarter-final, semi-final and the final played in the USA.

This despite the Yanks being largely immune to ‘soccer’, while Mexico — co-hosting along with Canada — is football-mad.

Still, perhaps the Mexicans will pull out if Trump is back in the White House and has built his big wall by then.

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