Billion-pound talk is getting annoying – Mauricio Pochettino

By Sports Desk February 27, 2024

Mauricio Pochettino finds constant talk of Chelsea’s billion-pound spend tiresome and remains convinced his under-fire players will develop into “an amazing team”.

Blues boss Pochettino has overseen an underwhelming campaign since arriving at Stamford Bridge last summer and his expensively-assembled squad faced further criticism following Sunday’s Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville branded them “blue billion-pound bottle jobs” late in their 1-0 extra-time defeat to opponents deprived of a host of star names due to injury.

Former Tottenham and Paris St Germain manager Pochettino is confident he retains the backing of Chelsea’s co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali and is adamant the club’s costly long-term project in the post-Roman Abramovich era is destined for success.

“The problem is so annoying when after eight months always people talk about one billion,” Pochettino said ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Leeds.

“I feel that’s a little bit unfair.

“The new owners arrived with the right intention and they want to build something that is different from the past.

“For me the players have an amazing quality, they only need time.

“It’s not an excuse for me because if I am here or not, it’s not dependent on me, it’s dependent of my job and I think we are doing an amazing job.

“We cannot see maybe great results. But I think with time we are going to have an amazing team because we are young, we are learning, because we create something that starts to appear in the training ground.”

Chelsea sit 11th in the Premier League, 17 points adrift of the top four and 15 above the relegation zone.

European qualification already looks to be a major ask, while the big-spending Blues must overcome the side sitting second in the Sky Bet Championship to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals and keep alive hope of silverware this term.

“People that work here for many years say they start to feel in a different way how the club is,” said Pochettino.

“But unfortunately we cannot relate in points. Always this type of process needs time.”

Asked if he expects the club’s ownership to remain patient with him, Pochettino replied: “Why not? I am confident until they tell me something.

“I feel the support from them. When I go up (to receive his runners-up medal at Wembley), I was so upset, nearly crying when I arrived there.

“And then Todd sent a very, very nice text to me, and then I met Behdad and he was really, really good.

“Our responsibility is to match the expectation, and when the expectation and the reality is close it’s easy.

“We need to translate to our people that they need to trust and be patient because we are building in a different way to succeed.”

Pochettino has been encouraged by his players’ response to the weekend disappointment and feels they are motivated to prove a point against Leeds.

“Always the pressure is to win and to go through,” he said.

“To arrive to the first final of the season in England is a massive achievement but after you don’t get the title it’s tough.

“Now is a game that is going to be tough. We need to be strong, with good energy and the players want to show that we are in the way that is going to be good for the club.”

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