Mauricio Pochettino leaves Chelsea by mutual agreement

Mauricio Pochettino has left his position as Chelsea manager by mutual agreement after less than 11 months in charge.

Chelsea’s decision to part ways with the 52-year-old Argentine comes following the conclusion of an internal review of the club’s performance in the 2023-24 season led by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.

In a Chelsea statement, Winstanley and Stewart said of the decision: “On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our thanks to Mauricio for his service this season. He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time now and we wish him all the best in his future coaching career.”

Pochettino said of his departure: “Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and the sporting directors for the opportunity to be part of the history of this football club. “The Club is now well positioned to continue making progress in the Premier League and Europe in the coming years.”

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Members of Pochettino’s coaching staff, Jesús Pérez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jiménez and Sebastiano Pochettino, also left the club.

Chelsea beat Bournemouth 2-1 on the final day of the season in what turned out to be Pochettino’s last game in charge to secure a sixth-place finish in the Premier League and ensure European football returns to Stamford Bridge for the campaign. 2024-25. .

Chelsea had a difficult start to the campaign under Pochettino – winning just one of their first six Premier League games – but experienced a strong upturn in form in the final months of the campaign.

A 4-2 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 4 left Chelsea out of the top half of the Premier League table, but Pochettino’s side lost just one of their next 15 league games and won each one of the last five to secure European qualification.

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Pochettino became Chelsea’s sixth permanent manager in five years following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter last season, leading to Frank Lampard taking charge temporarily.

Chelsea spent more than £400 million ($507 million) ahead of Pochettino’s debut season in charge in a summer of team renewal.

The west London club was defeated in the Carabao Cup final by Liverpool and lost in the FA Cup semi-finals by Manchester City.

Chelsea finished the 2023-24 Premier League season with 63 points; with their increase of 19 points from last season more than any other club in the division.

Pochettino began his managerial career at Espanyol, where he spent nine years as a player in two different stages.

He spent 16 months as Southampton head coach in his first Premier League job before taking charge of Tottenham Hotspur, leading the club to the Champions League final in 2019, his last full season in charge. The Spurs fired him after a disappointing start to the 2019-20 campaign.

Following his time at Tottenham, Pochettino took a break from management before succeeding Tuchel at Paris Saint-Germain in January 2021.

The French club finished second in Ligue 1 at the end of the 2020-21 season, but won the French Cup and Champions Trophy, while Pochettino guided PSG to the Ligue 1 title in 2021-22.

However, Pochettino was unable to secure success on the European stage with PSG, which he left in June 2022.

Pochettino led Chelsea to a sixth-place finish and European qualification with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth in his final game in charge (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“Pochettino’s departure sheds light on the divisions within the property”

Analysis by Liam Twomey

This news is likely to divide Chelsea fans.

Some who never accepted Pochettino due to his past at Tottenham, or were not convinced by a style of play that created a highly productive attack and a historically weak defense, may see this as an opportunity to improve.

Others will feel that Chelsea are going back to square one by parting ways with a manager who delivered a strong end to the season and a return to European football.

It is clear that due to a multitude of issues that have unfolded publicly and privately in recent months, Pochettino and Chelsea decided that they simply could no longer work together. Extending his contract, which had one guaranteed year left, was never an option.

It is a bold move by co-sports directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, two men whose competence has been questioned by many fans.

It also sheds light on divisions within the property; Todd Boehly has publicly supported Pochettino, but it is Clearlake Capital co-founders Behdad Eghbali and José Feliciano who wield the real power at Chelsea.

Winstanley and Stewart – and ultimately Eghbali and Feliciano – own this decision along with Pochettino, and how it will be remembered depends largely on what happens next.

Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley will play a key role in appointing Pochettino's successor (Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley will play a key role in appointing Pochettino’s successor (Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

‘A harsh reflection on his performance’

Analysis by The Athletic Tactics Editor Michael Cox

Overall, Pochettino was clearly performing well in a very difficult job, where he was forced to work out, in a relatively short period of time, what all those new individual players were about and what combinations of them worked together. It was a classic transition season, but it still produced the fourth-best results and sixth-best underlying numbers.

But parting ways with Pochettino (supposedly a mutual decision, although one suspects that if Chelsea had desperately wanted him to stay, they could have reached an agreement) is not simply a harsh reflection on the manager’s performance. It also calls into question Chelsea’s entire management. Eghbali and Boehly seemed committed to the long term, but reacted unreasonably after a single season that isn’t even a failure.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)