EPL

Mauricio Pochettino says Chelsea after firepower but plays down Harry Kane talk

By Sports Desk July 07, 2023

Mauricio Pochettino would not be drawn on whether he would push for Chelsea to reunite him with England captain Harry Kane as he was formally unveiled as manager at Stamford Bridge.

The pair enjoyed success during their days together at Tottenham, reaching the Champions League final in 2019, and the Argentinian was pressed on whether he would look to Kane to try and revive his new side’s ailing attack.

Chelsea scored only 38 league goals last season, their worst return in almost a hundred years, as they finished a dismal 12th in the Premier League.

They have already added RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal, and the manager said the club are still looking to do more business to improve their front line.

But he stopped short of saying he would ask the club to bid for Kane, who scored 30 times in the league last season and, with Spurs not qualifying for Europe, has been the subject of interest from Bayern Munich.

“You are talking about one of the greatest strikers in the world,” said Pochettino. “I think it’s too unfair to talk (about a player at another club). The most important thing is that fans are not stupid. They are so clever. They know my relationship with him was always amazing.

“I saw him when he was young and grow up and achieve all that he was achieving. We have a great relationship.

“At the moment, we are thinking (in the transfer market) in a different way. We are not thinking that. We’re working hard to try to provide the squad with good quality.

“We are working on that and still we have time to work. For sure we are going to add players that can score and we are going to find the best way to play.”

The club have begun a significant overhaul of their squad since the transfer window re-opened, with players leaving to slim down the squad and trim the wage bill.

Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante have led an exodus of nine first-team players to depart so far, but the club remain in the market for recruits as they look to address last season’s crisis of form in front of goal.

“Football is really dynamic,” said Pochettino. “What we have today maybe tomorrow disappears. We need to be ready if we need more or not or maybe we go through the pre-season and we realise we need to improve in different positions or add more players that can score.

“It’s really dynamic and we’re going to assess every single day the situation.”

The manager added that Chelsea’s owners will need to check in with him before paying visits to the Stamford Bridge dressing room as he was formally unveiled as the club’s new manager.

Co-controlling owner Todd Boehly frequently entered the dressing room under successive head coaches last season, telling the players after a defeat to Brighton in April that their season had been “embarrassing.”

Pochettino began work at Cobham on Monday just over a month after he was confirmed as permanent successor to Graham Potter, who Boehly sacked just seven months after appointing him.

The Argentinian is tasked with resurrecting the club after they suffered their worst season in 29 years last campaign, finishing 12th and failing to mount a credible challenge for silverware despite the owner’s Clearlake Capital consortium forking out over £600million on transfers.

Pochettino said he felt it was his responsibility to create the kind of culture where people clearly understand their place and function in the wider collective.

“We need to understand that they own the football club,” he said when asked whether the hierarchy would be welcome on his watch to address the players post-match.

“We need to respect that. The thing is to talk about how we need to behave because that is an important thing.

“The culture of football in England is a lot to understand. My responsibility also is to help and to add our knowledge and capacity to create this culture where everyone knows how to behave in different situations.

“For me, more than welcome if the owner comes to the dressing room, to the training ground. But always they need to communicate with myself, I need to know, and to prepare the people to receive.

“In here (the dressing room) it’s really special in England. Maybe in another country it’s different, but here it’s this way.

“The manager has some influence in all football clubs, for the fans, for the players, for the staff and the media. Altogether we need to create this. We are there to guide all the people that are involved in this football club, to try to create the best atmosphere and try to work and perform in the best way.

“I am more than happy if they are close to us. But they are the owners. The players, the fans, the media – the coach is who decides how things are going to work in the dressing room, on the pitch, on the training ground.  Also with the sporting directors, we create the line to follow.”

Former captain John Terry tweeted on Friday that he has re-joined the club working with the academy.

The 42-year-old won five Premier League titles with Chelsea as well as the 2012 Champions League.

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