Mauricio Pochettino said he cannot control Chelsea fans’ reactions after a section of the away support appeared to boo Ben Chilwell at the end of the team’s drab 0-0 draw at Bournemouth.

Chilwell was a second-half substitute at the Vitality Stadium but failed to substantially alter the team’s fortunes as they laboured in vain to break the hosts down in wet conditions.

Pochettino named three outfield players aged 19 or under on the bench as well as two goalkeepers as the club’s injury crisis continued to deepen.

Marc Cucurella and Noni Madueke were fresh additions to the absentee list at Bournemouth, taking the total number of players unavailable to the manager to 12.

Chelsea threatened only sporadically, looking to use the channels to attack but only rarely finding a final ball to open up the home side.

Raheem Sterling hit the crossbar with a fiercely hit free-kick whilst Nicolas Jackson also struck the woodwork in the first half but it was Robert Sanchez who was called upon to make the save of the game when he spread himself low at the feet of Dango Ouattara as the striker bore down on his goal.

It leaves Pochettino’s side 14th in the table with just one win from five matches, and with an uneasy sense that last season’s problems in front of goal are a long way from being fixed.

And some fans seemed to vent their frustrations when England international Chilwell went over to applaud the away end at full-time.

“What can we do?” said Pochettino. “For me, I have nothing to say. The fans can do whatever they want.

“We know what we need to do, we are strong in our belief. We have 12 injured and today we had three or four young guys and two keepers on the bench.

“I’m going to cry? I’m going to complain? To who? I need to accept this, the challenge and keep being positive.”

The Argentinian continued: “Bournemouth is a good team, they are going to compete. Every team is going to compete and be difficult.

“But these are the circumstances we need to accept and be positive, patient. We are not going to change in the way we do things.

“What can I do? Only to keep believing. If you say to me we have today all of our players, all of our signings, no injuries, and maybe we cannot win this game? Then maybe I can tell you we need to see (it) in a different way. But we cannot lie to the people.”

Chelsea have failed to score in their last two Premier League outings and have won just twice in the league since March, at the Vitality Stadium late last season when Bournemouth were already safe and last month at home to newly-promoted Luton.

Pochettino was asked whether he was sympathetic to the reaction of those supporters that booed the players off.

“What I can tell the fans is the circumstance that we cannot change,” he said. “The reality that we cannot change. We have too many players (injured). We’re a team that would be strong if we are together.

“Even Manchester City, Arsenal, when they have all the squad fit, they can compete for everything. Why is it different for us? It’s because of what? We don’t have all the squad available from the beginning of the season.”

Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola reflected on a performance that showed promise despite the winless run at the start of his tenure now stretching to five league matches.

“I’m really happy with the performance,” he said. “The game was quite level. Both teams had their chances. Overall, we had very good individual performances and finished the game even better.

“There were moments later on where we thought the game could be ours.”

Mauricio Pochettino is saddened by some of changes he has witnessed in English football, believing a move towards a more technical way of playing costing the Premier League some of its identity.

The manager is in his sixth full season working in England since being appointed at Southampton midway through the 2012-13 season.

He stabilised relegation-threatened Saints and pulled them clear of the drop zone before helping establishing them in the top flight the following year.

At his next job, Tottenham, he transformed the club from perennial underachievers into regular Champions League qualifiers and took them to the final in 2019, losing 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.

He is working his first Premier League job since being sacked by Spurs in November of that year, and is tasked with turning around Chelsea’s fortunes after a wretched campaign last season that saw them finish 12th.

The value and commercial appeal of England’s top flight has grown hugely since Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins at St. Mary’s more than a decade ago, with the appeal and financial incentive on offer to foreign stars greater than ever.

It has influenced English football to move away from some of its traditional habits, typically thought to have been centred around stamina and physicality.

“It’s true that the Premier League is different from when we arrived at Southampton (in 2013),” said Pochettino, who takes his team to face Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday looking for only their second league win of the season.

“Improved? Yes. Every season it improves, because the potential of the Premier League to sign players from everywhere has made the teams stronger.

“But it’s true that it loses a little bit of the identity of British football, or English football. Being honest, I like (it) of course, because as coaching staff we love to play in this way.

“English football always was about to fight. But to play good football in (a) different way also is to play well, because if you want to play in a different way, you need to be clever also in how you decide a philosophy and structure of the team.”

The Premier League had only 13 foreign players – not English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish – when it was launched in 1992.

The influx of players, and just as significantly managers, from overseas has seen the league grow to resemble a more technical style previously associated with Spain, Italy and other European leagues.

Pochettino added: “Losing this type of identity I think made me a little bit sad because always in my head it was different football in England, that is true.

“People want more spectacular, more things like this. Of course, that is the evolution of society. People ask for different demands, different things, and we are adapting. Football is adapting.”

Pochettino repeated his call for Chelsea’s young squad – the youngest in the league with an average age of just over 23 – to be afforded the time they need to grow into themselves following co-owner Todd Boehly’s whirlwind £1billion recruitment drive.

He cited one famous example of a player bought for big money who took time to come good.

“It’s not fair to assess one game, two games, three games; (a player) is not performing when we play someone and say ‘they need to perform like this’.

“I always use the same example. Real Madrid paid 70, 80, 100 million for one player, Zinedine Zidane.

“After six months you can ask the fans of Real Madrid. He started to perform after seven, eight months. Zidane was 26, 27.

“When you bring in a player who is 18 or 19 or 20 or 21, be careful. They are not machines. They need to settle. We need to give time.”

Chelsea’s policy of targeting young players in the transfer market must be given time to prove its effectiveness, according to boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart have led a recruitment drive that has prioritised youth over experience during the last two transfer windows.

At an average age of just over 23 the club have the youngest squad in the Premier League this season, with contracts of seven or eight years for new players common at Stamford Bridge.

They have broken the British transfer record twice in 2023 on two players who are under 23, Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo.

Yet the team have taken just four points from the manager’s first four league games in charge, after a summer in which recruitment spend in the previous 12 months under the current ownership surpassed the £1billion mark.

The manager was unhappy with the ease with which Nottingham Forest’s Anthony Elanga was allowed to run through the heart of his team’s defence to score the only goal in the visitors’ 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge before the international break, and mistakes in defence and in midfield have been a theme in the season’s early weeks.

Nevertheless, Chelsea have enjoyed periods of dominance in all four fixtures, particularly in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend and in the 3-0 win over newly-promoted Luton.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic said this week that the squad lacked the kind of world-class individuals that helped the club win five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues over the past 20 years.

But Pochettino has seen enough to be reassured that his ideas are taking root amongst his young squad, and appealed for the necessary patience for an inexperienced group to find their flow.

“They were (once) young also, John Terry was young, Frank Lampard was young, (Didier) Drogba was young,” he said. “You know better maybe than me, that is a completely different pressure. This is a different Chelsea to what I saw when I was at Tottenham or Southampton. Worse or better? I’m not saying that.

“But it’s different pressure. Different circumstances. Now we cannot compare with the past. I think it’s not fair. It’s a different Chelsea. What I want to translate is the fans want to win because the normal way in the past for Chelsea is to win.

“We need to accelerate all the process, because Chelsea is about to win, and we want to win. But I understand that the process is completely different to in the past. Because we have a different approach to the game and the philosophy and the ideas, (it means) we have a young squad of course.

“(We have) very talented players that need time to perform. But for sure we have one of the best squads of young players with the project. But of course we need time. We need to be careful about how we evolve and how we develop these ideas. But it’s true, players that need to improve and improve.”

Chelsea travel to Bournemouth on Sunday looking to win away from home for just the second time since March, with their only victory on the road in that time coming on their previous visit to the Vitality Stadium at the end of last season.

Pochettino spoke positively about his side’s performances so far this campaign despite a points return that has left them 12th.

He emphasised that his young squad are carrying the club into a new era where success is planned over a longer period, investing in potential rather than ready-made stars.

“I cannot give my opinion about what (Begovic) said because I didn’t hear,” he added. “But it’s obvious that at the moment, if you’re talking about a name like John Terry or Lampard or Drogba… come on.

“Today maybe we have the potential of Lampard or Terry or Drogba, but they are young. They need to prove that they can be one of these guys.

“In the past, Chelsea was about to sign (big) players, like Drogba. Now the idea is to buy young people to have the possibility to develop and to build a team. We are in the process of building a team.”

Mauricio Pochettino said football’s stakeholders should not be hypocritical in their judgement of Chelsea after the club’s spending surpassed £1billion under the ownership of Todd Boehly.

The £40million signing of Cole Palmer from Manchester City on Friday pushed total outlay during the last 16 months into 10 figures, with more than £400m having been spent on 12 players in the summer window alone.

That has in part been offset by player sales for significant fees earlier in the window with 14 first-team departures since the end of the last season, most notably midfielders Kai Havertz and Mason Mount who left for a combined £120m.

It was also confirmed on Friday that 20-year-old striker Mason Burstow has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan while Callum Hudson-Odoi has signed for Nottingham Forest, ending a 16-year association with the club.

Chelsea host Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday looking to make it three wins in a row after victories against Luton in the Premier League and AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup.

The manager has previously said that anything less than Champions League qualification in his first season will be deemed a failure following the owners’ mammoth transfer outlay which has seen them break the British transfer record twice in 2023.

And with Boehly still relatively inexperienced in European football, Pochettino was at pains to emphasise his responsibility to help guide and advise his employer.

“You can talk about being very surprised about (the billion-pound landmark), or not,” said Pochettino. “It depends. Today football is… we need to evolve. Today it’s different. Completely different. We manage a different type of numbers.

“If 20 years ago we had thought this was going to happen, maybe no one would believe it. But today, it’s normal in football, this type of money moving around.

“It’s a big business, football. And we cannot stop. I think we all get the benefit here, no? I think we cannot be hypocrites. To be involved in football in different areas, you (the press) there or me here. We are living all (what) that business produces.

“I’m not going to be here to give lessons to anyone, but I think football is about getting a good balance. For me, yes Chelsea is spending money. But also it’s selling players. Money in and money out.

“In that case, people arrive in a club in the Premier League like our owners, it’s normal. They want to settle and develop their project, and we are people that are going to help them to be right in their decisions, because we are professionals of football.

“We are giving our vision and advice, and of course after (that) it’s up to them. That is a very special situation that happened from the beginning.”

Pochettino will have Mykhailo Mudryk available for selection after the winger missed last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Luton.

The Ukraine international, who signed for £88m from Shakhtar Donetsk in January but is yet to score or consistently show the kind of form that persuaded Chelsea to bring him to west London, has played just 54 minutes this season and is yet to start a game under Pochettino.

“He’s a very talented player,” said the manager. “He needs to first of all, before talking about football, he needs to feel comfortable, feel really strong in his body. He suffered (during) the (under-21) Euros, he only played one game (because) he was suffering from some injury.

“When I arrived here was never consistent in training, always something happened. Now we are focused and trying to help me to be really strong, healthy and feel good to start to perform.

“No one can perform if they do not feel strong and really confident in your body. It’s time we need to build his confidence. We are working. I hope in the next few weeks he starts to find his best form to start to help the team.”

Mauricio Pochettino praised the performances of the players given their full Chelsea debuts in the narrow Carabao Cup win over AFC Wimbledon, but would not be drawn on reports that the club are on the brink of signing Manchester City’s Cole Palmer.

It took a first Chelsea goal from Enzo Fernandez in the second half to finally see off the challenge of the League Two side and seal a 2-1 victory, after Noni Madueke had equalised from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Earlier, James Tilley’s penalty had given Johnnie Jackson’s side a shock lead after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez raced from his goal and collided with Harry Pell.

The young trio of Mason Burstow, Ian Maatsen and Diego Moreira all started for the first time in an unfamiliar Chelsea line-up, but it took the introduction of Nicolas Jackson and Fernandez for the hosts to finally settle the tie, with a noticeable difference in the manner of their threat once the pair were brought on in the second half.

Jackson provided the kind of incisive running between the lines that had been missing in the first half, whilst it was a first goal in blue for World Cup-winner Fernandez that finally broke Wimbledon’s resolve 18 minutes from time.

Madueke, Chelsea’s best player in the first period before Pochettino turned to his bench, levelled from 12 yards after he had been tripped in the box by defender Alex Pearce.

Pochettino was asked afterwards about the impending arrival of Palmer, with Chelsea and City reportedly having agreed a £40million fee for the forward, but he refused to comment, preferring instead to praise his team’s progression to the third round.

“I don’t know anything at the moment,” he said. “I cannot talk about players that don’t belong to us. What I can say is nothing at the moment. The club didn’t tell me. I don’t want to talk about a player that has still not signed.

“Maybe yes, maybe no (there will be more transfer business). Maybe you know better than me what is going on.”

Of the performance against the Dons, he added: “It was tough. That’s the beauty of the competition, of the cups. I think for the circumstances we have in the squad at the moment, many players that were involved today, I’m happy with the performance. Many players that made their debut here and it’s tough first time.

“Many positive things. Of course, we have a squad and players that were rested and were on the bench in case we needed. They were fresh to go into the game and of course to help the team achieve what we wanted.

“That’s the beauty of the competition for any club, (when you’re) a Premier League club it’s always difficult to play a team like this, that belongs to this level in League Two. Always the motivation and the desire. It wasn’t a penalty for me, (but) that is the beauty of the competition, these things can happen.”

The manager added that Marc Cucurella, who played 90 minutes at left-back despite reports that the club are in negotiations over a sale to Manchester United, remains a part of his plans until the club informs him otherwise.

“I don’t know anything (about Cucurella). All the players that are involved every day on the training ground with us are in our plans. Then, things happen, it’s the decision of both the club and the player, and if something happens in the next few days, we will communicate to you.”

AFC Wimbledon boss Jackson reflected on a brave performance for his side and took pride in having forced Pochettino to turn to his expensively-assembled bench to seal the win.

“So proud of my players,” said Jackson. “We pushed them all the way, gave them a proper game. We’ve said all week that we weren’t just coming for a day out, we wanted to go toe-to-toe with them. A bit gutted we haven’t pushed them all the way to penalties, but I have to be proud of everyone.

“We knew they were on the bench and to be honest I think their manager was hoping he doesn’t have to use them, so I think it’s testament to my team that we got them to a position in the game where he’s had to make those changes, bringing two hundred million pound players (Fernandez and Moises Caicedo) onto the pitch.”

Chelsea had to rely on reinforcements from the bench to survive a scare as a Mauricio Pochettino’s young selection recovered from a goal down to beat League Two AFC Wimbledon 2-1 in the Carabao Cup second round.

It took a first Chelsea goal from substitute Enzo Fernandez to break the visitors’ stubborn resolve at Stamford Bridge, after they had stunned home fans to take the lead through midfielder James Tilley’s 19th-minute penalty.

Noni Madueke equalised from the spot in first-half added time, as an unfamiliar starting XI made heavy weather of seeing off Johnnie Jackson’s team.

Pochettino brought in three players for their full first-team debuts – Mason Burstow, Ian Maatsen and Diego Moreira – but it took the introduction of a more recognised trio in the second half for them to see off the Dons, who were a stubborn defensive match for their Premier League opponents.

Nicolas Jackson, fresh from his first goal for the club against Luton, was introduced and provided a spark that had been absent, with Malo Gusto and Fernandez helping lend Chelsea the required bite.

The World Cup-winner struck the winner 18 minutes from the end after an unfortunate error from goalkeeper Alex Bass, as Wimbledon went down fighting.

The visitors had been awarded a penalty in the 16th minute when Robert Sanchez flew from his goal in an attempt to deal with Morgan Williams’ deep free-kick, instead crashing his fist into the face of Harry Pell. From the spot, Tilley thumped his kick down the centre as Sanchez dived to his right.

Chelsea almost hit back within minutes when Marc Cucurella, in the side despite reported negotiations over a move to Manchester United, carried the ball to the byline and pulled it back for Maatsen who turned cleverly and struck a low left-footed effort. Bass was relieved to see the ball skid inches past his near post off defender Joe Lewis.

On the half-hour mark, Cucurella again was the provider from the left, this time whipping in a cross which Burstow headed narrowly wide.

Madueke, making his first start under Pochettino, looked Chelsea’s best hope of a first-half response, his penetrating runs and movement off the ball as great a threat to Wimbledon’s lead as the home side could muster. But with the visitors camped largely in their own half, there was little room in which to manoeuvre.

Then on the stroke of half-time came a way back. Madueke, on another darting run, won a penalty as Alex Pearce went to ground with a clumsy challenge. The 21-year-old stepped up and capped a fine individual first period by clipping it coolly past Bass for 1-1.

It was the hosts’ only shot on target of the opening 45 minutes despite enjoying 85% of possession but the arrival at half-time of Jackson ignited something in attack.

His clever footwork and vision found Conor Gallagher and Chelsea’s captain for the night finally warmed the hands of Bass with a right-footed shot that was well saved in the 54th minute.

Fernandez was summoned from the bench and almost made an instant impact, striking at goal from 30 yards and drawing a superb two-handed save from Bass at full stretch. He would not have to wait much longer for his first Chelsea goal.

In the 72nd minute a long ball up from the back was hit by the onrushing goalkeeper straight into Jackson, the ball deflecting into Fernandez’s path to give the Argentinian the simple task of bending it into an empty goal with Bass stranded.

The goalkeeper went a long way towards making amends with a flurry of fine saves to keep the score down.

It was a brave showing from him and his team and might it might have earned them a penalty shoot-out had substitute Ali Al-Hamadi’s last-gasp effort not deflected wide off Axel Disasi.

However, Chelsea’s strength in reserve ultimately eased the Blues into the third round.

Mauricio Pochettino praised the intensity of Chelsea’s attacking play in their 3-0 win over Luton and reiterated the club would only go back into the transfer market if the right forward comes available.

The visitors were looking for a first win at Stamford Bridge in 36 years but were no match for Pochettino’s newly energised side, who after a nervous first half ripped into them late on to earn the manager his first win.

Raheem Sterling continued his fine start to the season with two goals and an assist for summer signing Nicolas Jackson, who opened his goalscoring account for the club.

The England forward’s difficult debut season in west London looked confined to history when he danced through Luton’s defence to open the scoring after 17 minutes, before settling Chelsea nerves with a sweetly taken second midway through the second half.

His assist for Jackson, nonchalantly driving over a low cross after collecting Enzo Fernandez’s clever ball forward, typified a new confidence that has marked early performances under Pochettino.

And the manager stated again that reinforcements, whilst welcome, would only be sought if the right profile of player can be found.

“It’s in the way that we love to work,” he said. “The intensity in the Premier League, if it’s not there, it’s difficult to win games. (We matched) the energy of Luton, and I think that was one of the keys, and after with the quality to score goals and create chances.

“I don’t know about the past, I cannot talk about the past. Only we can talk about the present and the future, and the way we want this pressure and the challenge that is to create a team with full energy but also with quality, to have the capacity to be competitive and challenge the big teams like Liverpool, Manchester City and company.

“I’m very pleased because the performance was very solid but that is only the first step. We need to work really hard to still improve, because I think we are so far in the way that we want to play, we are far away. But I think we are in a very good way.

“Like happened last week when we lost against West Ham, it’s not going to change (our plans). We work and the result (against Luton) was positive.”

Chelsea have had a busy summer already on the transfer front but Pochettino said they were still looking at bringing in another goalkeeper – a spot that has now been filled by the signing of Djordje Petrovic – and then “one offensive player more, but the right profile. At the moment we are working to try and find this profile.”

He added: “We need to provide the team a good balance on different areas. I think still we need one offensive player more. We’ll see if it’s possible to achieve.

“If not, we’re not going bring a player and stop a (current) player if it’s not the right profile, to only say ‘yes we have another offensive player.’”

The club confirmed the signing of Brazilian striker Deivid Washington from Santos on Thursday, but the 18-year-old is unlikely to play a role in the first team straight away, with a loan move possible.

Chelsea also announced on Saturday night the signing of Petrovic from MLS side New England Revolution.

The twice-capped Serbia international has agreed a seven-year deal at Stamford Bridge, with the option of a further year.

The 23-year-old said on his club’s website: “I’m so happy to be at Chelsea and I’m really excited to get started at this club.

“It’s a big step for me and it’s always been a dream of mine to sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Today I have achieved that goal and I’m so happy.”

Mauricio Pochettino insisted Raheem Sterling deserves the credit for turning his Chelsea career around after his two goals fired the team to a 3-0 victory over Luton at Stamford Bridge.

Sterling endured a disappointing debut campaign in west London but has looked a player transformed since his new manager took charge, and cemented a sensational return to form with a match-winning display against Rob Edwards’ newly promoted side.

His first strike was a particularly fine solo effort, cutting in from the wing and beating three defenders before sliding the ball home.

But it was his second midway through the second half that transformed the atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge, sweeping first-time into the bottom corner from Malo Gusto’s pinpoint cross.

Chelsea’s third – the first time in more than 10 months that they had held a three-goal lead in the Premier League – saw Sterling turn provider as his nonchalant ball driven into the centre was finished off by Nicolas Jackson for his first Chelsea goal.

And Pochettino said that ever since his first conversation with the player when he “held up a mirror” and asked him which position he most loves to play, the catalyst for change has all been down to Sterling.

“I can only talk from day one when we arrived,” said Pochettino. “We had a conversation. His commitment in the way that he wants to provide and contribute for the team, his work ethic and quality.

“I repeat again, I think he deserves the full credit for his performance. We’re very pleased and very happy, he has the quality and he can provide the team goals and assists. Then when we don’t have the ball, working really hard to recover it as soon as possible.

“I’m so pleased for him. He told me it was a difficult season for him last season. I’m very pleased when a player is happy, an offensive player who can score and assist, for us it’s the best feeling.

“Our first conversation with all the players, our conversation with Raheem, I love to ask the position they love to play, how they feel, how they see themselves; to put a player in front of the mirror.

“It’s not the position, it’s the animation and the way the team is going to link in between them. It’s to find the best position, the dynamic of the game when we are playing an offensive situation, to provide the best platform, position and place and link with the player where they can (show) their best quality.

“It’s really important, the process. Time to work to create all these links and this animation and to know each other, we need time. When you want to build a team in the process that we are, it’s matter of time.”

The crowning moment of Pochettino’s first win in charge came when summer signing Jackson was rewarded for an energetic, committed display by knocking in his first goal for the club.

The manager was full of praise for the 22-year-old’s performance and hinted that he has the potential to insert himself amongst the Premier League’s all-time goalscoring greats.

“We are not asking for him to run a lot and press and recover the ball, because it is his quality,” said Pochettino. “His work ethic is amazing and then he is fast, to run in behind the defensive line and then the quality into the feet.

“It’s only a matter of time that he’s going to score goals also. He’s amazing. It’s difficult to find a player like him in the market. For me he’s going to be one of the great strikers. He has the potential to be.”

Despite watching his side lose for the second time in two games since their top-flight return, Luton boss Edwards said his players could hold their heads up after competing well with Chelsea before Sterling’s decisive intervention caused the game to slip away.

“We don’t like losing, but I can accept it when there’s a performance like that,” he said.

“The players were committed, we gave it absolutely everything. We just came up short in both boxes. I’m extremely proud to be involved with this football club and these players.

“We were very resilient and incredibly brave. We went man for man, tried to press them, tried to take the ball. For a time in the second half, we had the territory. I could smell a goal coming, but it was them unfortunately.”

Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Chelsea players that Luton will get the better of them at Stamford Bridge on Friday night if they fail to match the desire to win of Rob Edwards’ newly promoted side.

The manager recalled one of his early games in charge of Espanyol when he took his team to the Nou Camp and staged a famous victory against Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona en route to masterminding the team’s La Liga survival.

That 2-1 win in February 2009, earned thanks to two goals from midfielder Ivan de la Pena as Espanyol ended a 27-year wait for a victory at the home of their city rivals, announced Pochettino’s arrival as a coach and was a springboard for dragging his new team out of the relegation zone to safety.

It went down as one of the shocks of the LaLiga season in Spain, particularly as Barcelona were en route to winning a domestic and European treble in what was Guardiola’s first season in charge.

Pochettino prepares his side to welcome Luton in rather less swashbuckling form, still seeking a first win under his tenure following a draw and a defeat in his first two games in charge and grappling with the problem of integrating a flux of summer recruits.

Defeat to the Hatters, who last won in the league at Stamford Bridge in 1986 and are yet to pick up a point in their debut Premier League season, would add to the noise surrounding Pochettino’s Chelsea rebuild, with the club having spent more than £350million on nine new signings so far this summer.

In contrast, Luton have paid out around £20m on transfers during the last 18 months, but the Chelsea manager was quick to remind his players of football’s unique propensity for springing upsets.

“It’s the beauty of football. In the pre-season I was talking with (Brighton manager) Roberto De Zerbi, he’s a good friend. I said ‘look, I was at Southampton and at Espanyol. Sometimes you face Real Madrid and you cannot complain, because I know how you feel when you face this type of team’.

“I was on one side, now I am on another. I understand. Sometimes people will say ‘you need to win 4-0 or 5-0’ before the start of the game. But it’s the beauty of football. At Espanyol we beat the dream team of Barcelona with Lionel Messi and Xavi and (Andres) Iniesta. It is similar (to) Luton and Chelsea. It’s the beauty of football.

“I was telling the players today in the meeting. We need to match the same will as the players of Luton. If we match all this, then we presume that we have better quality for us to win. But if not the game can be crazy. Maybe we can win or we can lose. That is football. It happens more here in the Premier League.

“It was the first time the bottom team had beaten the top team. It had never happened in the past. It was amazing, Espanyol in the Camp Nou. It was a little but lucky, we had some help also.

“There’s nothing to lose (for Luton). You go there, we were Espanyol and we said we don’t care about making a mistake. We need to be brave. (But) I don’t want to give the Luton coach all the strategies.

“It can only happen in football. You can see basketball, NFL, you see the quality of the players and you say (one team) it’s impossible, you cannot do it. In football you can shoot 30 times and not score, and they can shoot only once and score. In other sports, it’s impossible.

“Football is about belief, being together and (showing) fight, and then the quality that you have, if you match this, it’s about the players. If you don’t match this, the game is going to be over.”

It was near the end of the transfer window last season that former manager Thomas Tuchel talked of there being “a curse” on Chelsea’s number nine shirt, such has been the club’s lack of success with strikers in recent seasons.

Pochettino acknowledged that the door may not be fully closed on Romelu Lukaku’s future at Stamford Bridge if a deal cannot be reached to sell him before the end of the window, although the player is eager to leave and unlikely to prove the answer to the team’s goalscoring woes unless his relationship with the club improves.

The manager said the club remain in the market for another attacking option but only if a player of the hight profile becomes available.

Summer signing Christopher Nkunku is out until December and the number nine shirt is currently not assigned.

“I didn’t hear about the curse,” said Pochettino. “We need to do something to try to change the energy. I’ll ask the kitman to bring all the number nine shirts and we’ll do some cleaning, energetic thing.

“If we bring a new striker I’ll be sure he gets the number nine to try and change the feeling that this number is not welcome.”

Mauricio Pochettino has warned big transfer fees will not guarantee players a place in Chelsea’s starting XI after the club’s summer spending surpassed £350million.

Significant headway was made earlier in the window on reducing the size of a squad that was heavily bloated last season, but eight incoming signings together with players returning from loan has meant the size of the first team remains almost unchanged.

Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and long-time target Moises Caicedo, signed on Monday from Brighton for a British record £115million, are the latest recruits to Pochettino’s playing staff.

Graham Potter and Frank Lampard both voiced their frustration at the negative effect that having too many available players had on their job last season and Pochettino has already found himself fielding similar queries.

The manager was bullish in his response ahead of Sunday’s trip to face West Ham, placing responsibility firmly at the door of his new recruits to repay the club’s faith and financial outlay in order to force themselves into his plans.

“Players that aren’t happy and don’t want to fight for their place, to be part of the team, playing or not playing, the door is open (to leave),” he said.

“The players have a clear idea that they need to compete for their place and then it’s the coach that is going to decide who are the best for every single game.

“It’s not that (if) we sign a player and we spend big money, that they are sure to play. I don’t tell Moises or Lavia ‘you are going to play, (whether) you are good or bad’. It’s not like this, football.

“Talented players, players that the club spends money on, they need to show every day that they deserve to play.

“My job is to be fair with everyone in the squad. You sign a player on an eight-year contract and after (that) he doesn’t run, is not involved, no commitment – is he going play? That is our job. It’s our judgement.

“I have the support of the owner, I have the support of the sporting director, so far. They need to trust in our judgement. It’s not the people of social media, it’s our judgement.”

Chelsea have pursued a policy of awarding unusually long contracts during the ownership of Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium, with deals of between six and eight years now commonplace at the club.

Pochettino was asked how easy it would be to get rid of players on lengthy deals who are unwilling to work for their place in the side.

“If you have an eight-year contract, you need to be responsible,” he said.

“Players need to show respect, need to show commitment, need to show the performance that we expect from them. If not, they’re not going to play.

“The player cannot be upset. If we sign a player and give an eight-year contract and then the player is not going to do what we expect or what he needs to do and then he doesn’t play, it’s because of him, not because of us.

“They need to give their best and for sure if they have the talent that we assume and we paid for them, they are going to play.”

Chelsea's new recruits are perfectly suited to playing under Mauricio Pochettino, according to Gus Poyet, who believes the Blues could surprise their Premier League rivals this season.

Chelsea have continued to invest heavily ahead of their second full season under the Todd Boehly regime, spending an estimated £328million on Moises Caicedo, Christopher Nkunku, Nicolas Jackson and others during the current transfer window.

Former Brighton and Hove Albion star Caicedo became the most expensive player in Premier League history when he joined the Blues in a £115m deal this week, with fellow midfielder Romeo Lavia also arriving from Southampton for £58m.

While Chelsea's costly recruitment policy has attracted plenty of criticism, former Blues favourite Poyet feels they have acquired players likely to excel under Pochettino.

"Obviously they have a new coach. They have too many new players," Poyet told Stats Perform. 

"They're very young and normally the young players have that stamina, they are going to run and create, but then you have that dip in form.

"The thing that I am the most pleased about, thinking about the coach, is they are made for Pochettino. 

"Young players that need to be built, that need to be coached, that need to feel part of a group and have togetherness… things that Pochettino does tremendously well. 

"A few weeks ago, I was worried. Now I've got a feeling that maybe they can be the surprise. I'm not saying they can win the title, but the surprise in terms of how they're going to develop."

Chelsea produced a positive display in their season opener last Sunday, enjoying 64.9 per cent of the possession and creating five big chances in an entertaining 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Conor Gallagher partnered Enzo Fernandez in the heart of Chelsea's midfield for that game, but Poyet believes Caicedo's arrival can take the Blues to a different level.

"I think was quite a good call from Pochettino to play Fernandez a little bit further forward," he said. "For that, you need a proper sitting number six, which Gallagher did the other day. 

"I think Gallagher did tremendously, he made two or three unbelievable tackles to recover the ball in difficult circumstances, but they're looking for that athletic South American that can cover the pitch and be good on the ball. 

"[Caicedo] learned a lot with Roberto De Zerbi about positioning and passing, so I think they have an incredible group of players that just need to gel or to find the right system."

Poyet – who coached Brighton between 2009 and 2013 – also believes the transfer represents a remarkable piece of business for the Seagulls, adding: "I want to talk about Brighton, who are outstanding with their recruitment system.

"To have players from everywhere in the world and sell them for the amount of money they are selling them for is tremendous."

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.

Elano believes Newcastle United "will become powerful in Europe" after they qualified for next season's Champions League.

The Magpies finished fourth in Eddie Howe's first full term at St James' Park, their highest top-flight finish since the 2002-03 campaign under Bobby Robson.

Howe was appointed in 2021 shortly after Newcastle were taken over by a Saudi-backed consortium with the club spending over £200million in the transfer market since, a number that is sure to increase in the upcoming window ahead of a busy fixture list next season.

Elano, who scored 14 goals in 62 Premier League appearances for Manchester City between 2007 and 2009, feels the huge financial backing for Howe should see them become major players in Europe.

"Things are getting much more equal," Elano told Stats Perform. "Especially the clubs that didn't have the structure of [Manchester] United, Arsenal, Chelsea, who were the winning clubs.

"Newcastle, for example, who are in the Champions League, are also a powerful club. And they will become powerful in Europe, because they have the money for that. It is a club with an absurd growth margin."

Elano revealed he wanted to wear Newcastle's colours after facing them and maintains the Magpies can catch up to the Premier League's elite clubs.

"I confess to you that I wanted to play for Newcastle," Elano added. "I played a few games against Newcastle and I saw the quality of the fans, the stadium and the structure of the club.

"In world football, today, whoever doesn't have the training structure, the staff, the club structure, will be left behind.

"If we look at the Premier League, Liverpool didn't fight for the title. Arsenal were six or seven points ahead and lost the title. [Manchester] United were almost out [of the Champions League] again. Chelsea are out of the next Champions League.

"So, the organisation and the project of each club needs consistent work. Otherwise, whether it's the Premier League or any other league, clubs will fall behind."

In a career that also saw him play for the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk and Santos, attacking midfielder Elano made 50 appearances for his national team Brazil between 2004 and 2011.

With fellow South American native Mauricio Pochettino being appointed at Chelsea after the Blues finished in the bottom half of the Premier League last season, Elano says the former Tottenham boss must be given time to succeed after a tumultuous spell at Stamford Bridge.

"I think he can be successful if they give him time to work," Elano said. "If they detected that he should be the coach, they should give him time.

"A player, in three or four months, can be sold for £100million. Because in three months you can score goals, put in brilliant performances, then someone sees you and takes you. Not the coach. The coach in three months is formatting the team, setting up the team with his ideas.

"You get a team of 20 players, each one is different, each one has his own characteristics. And the coach has to put this together. It takes time."

New Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino will find he has a daunting in-tray once he gets to work at Stamford Bridge as the Blues look to bounce back from the wreckage of this season.

The job presents as many opportunities as it does challenges and a coach of Pochettino’s charisma, calibre and character will relish trying to mould solutions out of the current malaise.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what the former Tottenham and Paris St Germain boss has to get to grips with.

Slim down the squad…

Successive managers have reaped the chaos of the new Chelsea ownership’s scattergun approach to recruitment during the last 12 months and a significant clear-out is needed if the squad is to be anything like manageable.

Apart from the obvious logistical headache of trying to organise training with a bloated group that exceeds 30, there is the effect on morale that having so much surplus and deadwood will have around Cobham.

There is clearly no sense in the manager and his staff investing time and attention during sessions in players who are unlikely to feature, particularly when those currently comprising the starting XI present next to no cohesion.

Pochettino needs to figure out quickly who of the current crop has a role to play in his rebuild and who can be put towards easing the Financial Fair Play pressure the club is under.

… but persuade Joao Felix to stay

It might seem counter-productive considering the above but convincing the on-loan winger to turn his six-month loan stay from Atletico Madrid into a permanent one will be key.

It will likely mean tossing another hefty transfer fee into an already nightmarish FFP calculation, but Felix has been one of few recruits under new owner Todd Boehly who has shown something close to his best, albeit not consistently.

He has six months of acclimatising to the Premier League under his belt and, like Enzo Fernandez, has the potential under the right manager to become one of the best in the world.

Don’t write off Aubameyang and Lukaku

Despite the fact that only four Premier League teams this season have fewer goals – 19th-placed Leicester have outscored them by 13 – there are two strikers on Chelsea’s books that between them have scored almost 600 goals at the top level.

It has not worked out so far for either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge, but nor has much else during the two years since the club paid £97.5million to bring in Lukaku – currently on loan at Inter Milan – and Aubameyang’s time has been even more chaotic.

If the problem until now has been one of relationships, personnel and the lack of a settled environment then a new manager and staff could go some of the way towards wiping the slate clean for both players.

There is also a buy-back option on Tammy Abraham about to come into effect that, considering his success at Roma, might also be worth looking at given the lack of firepower.

Give supporters back that old Chelsea swagger

Part of the reason Graham Potter never looked a natural fit at Stamford Bridge was an absence of the self-assurance bordering on arrogance that defined some of the club’s most successful managers.

Title-winners Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte oozed entitlement – even though in reality their swagger was hard earned – whilst Carlo Ancelotti exhibited a confident coolness.

To supporters, Chelsea’s image is just one more part of their identity next to the haul of trophies from the last 20 years.

Pochettino has the personality to satisfy certain of those requirements. Whether he can do it whilst matching the success of that glittering trio will be the true test.

Mauricio Pochettino has "everything to succeed" in his first season if appointed as Chelsea's new head coach, according to former Blues winger Willian.

Pochettino has been out of management since being sacked as Paris Saint-Germain boss at the end of last season, but he is reportedly close to taking over at Stamford Bridge ahead of next campaign.

His rumoured arrival comes at the end of a tumultuous season for Chelsea, who have sacked Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter on the way to their lowest-ever points tally in the Premier League era.

But Willian, who won two Premier League titles as well as the Europa League during his seven-year spell with the Blues, believes Pochettino is the man to bring success back to the club.

"He is a great manager," Willian told Stats Perform. "He did a great job while he was at Tottenham and he has everything to succeed.

"Chelsea is a giant club, it's a club that is always used to winning titles. Chelsea might not win anything one year, but the next year they'll be fighting for a title.

"Chelsea has been winning titles this way for a few years now, and sometimes they don't do well in a league, but they win a European trophy or a cup.

"Chelsea is a club that will always fight for titles, and I think they have everything to fight for a title again next year."

Chelsea have spent over £600million in the transfer market since Todd Boehly's consortium took control of the club, including £323m on acquiring eight players in the January window alone.

Willian feels the new signings will come good, adding: "I think the team has quality players.

"They have signed a lot of players, but you can see they have a lot of quality players and I think they have everything to succeed, yes."

Willian now plies his trade with Chelsea's west London rivals Fulham, who have secured a top-half finish in a successful first Premier League campaign following their promotion last term, sitting nine points above the Blues with one game remaining.

Willian remembers his time at Stamford Bridge fondly, though, claiming they were the best years of a career that has also included spells at Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk.

"Chelsea was the best moment of my career," Willian said. "It was almost eight years, I won titles, I was very happy.

"Even before I was there, I already dreamed of playing for Chelsea. I watched Chelsea games on TV and I had this dream of playing there, and I was able to make that dream come true.

"For me, those were the best years of my career. Those were incredible years."

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