Pochettino splits from Chelsea and ends reign despite late recovery

Mauricio Pochettino has relinquished his reins at Chelsea by mutual agreement, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday, ending his tenure after just one season despite a late-season resurgence.

Pochettino joined Chelsea ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, replacing interim manager Frank Lampard. New owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital brought him in to rejuvenate the team after a disappointing 12th place finish the previous season.

Pochettino signed a two-year deal, with the option of a third year, but the 52-year-old left the west London club after a turbulent season. Despite a late recovery that saw Chelsea finish sixth and secure European football for next season, his reign has come to an end.

They also reached the final of the League Cup, losing to Liverpool after extra time at Wembley, and the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they lost to Manchester City.

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

Pochettino, a former Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur coach, arrived after Chelsea had spent more than any other club in Europe in the previous transfer window, spending £400 million ($508.28 million) on transfers.

Boehly and Clearlake had spent more than $1 billion on players since taking control of the club in 2022, with most of the outlay going to young players who signed long-term contracts as they looked to build a team for the future.

Third manager

Pochettino was Chelsea’s third permanent manager under new ownership, after Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter. The players took some time to adjust as the club struggled to establish a run in the early months, placing 12th at one point.

But Pochettino turned things around when the players returned from injury and lost one of their last 15 games, winning the last five in a row to move up to sixth place and qualify for Europe.

Chelsea have qualified for the Conference League but will play in the Europa League if Premier League champions Manchester City win the FA Cup final against Manchester United on Saturday.

There was much speculation that Pochettino would leave after a year in charge, but he remained tight-lipped about his future when asked after the final game of the season on Sunday.

The Argentine did not want to be carried away by the “rumors” about his departure, but said on Sunday that he had had dinner with Boehly.

“Thank you to the Chelsea owners and sporting directors for the opportunity to be part of the history of this football club,” Pochettino said on Tuesday. “The club is now well positioned to continue making progress in the Premier League and Europe in the coming years.”

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