Mauricio Pochettino is appealing for more time as he searches for solutions to Chelsea’s growing crisis. However, the question remains: How patient will the club’s owners be?
The Blues, who were crowned European champions just two years ago, currently find themselves in a lowly 14th position on the Premier League table, with just four points separating them from the relegation zone, following a single victory in their first six matches.
Their most recent setback was a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa, with Ollie Watkins securing the winner after Chelsea defender Malo Gusto was sent off.
Last year, Chelsea recorded their lowest points total in Premier League history, but their start to the current season has been even more dismal.
Pochettino, in a plea following Sunday’s match, urged the club’s American owners to give him the time and support he needs. He acknowledged their disappointment but emphasized the importance of backing his plan.
Pochettino took the helm at Stamford Bridge in May and is the third permanent manager since Todd Boehly’s consortium acquired the club from Roman Abramovich in 2022. Chelsea praised the Argentine as a “winning coach with experience at the highest levels.”
Boehly supported his manager by investing heavily in new players during the summer transfer window, pushing Chelsea’s spending on new talent to over £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in just over a year.
However, the return on this investment has been meager during a period marked by significant changes both on and off the field.
Chelsea has managed just five goals in their first six league matches, with three of those coming in a match against newly promoted Luton. They have failed to score in 13 Premier League matches in 2023, more than any other team.
Pochettino expressed frustration over his team’s lack of luck in the Villa defeat, highlighting the need for more goals.
He can also point to a long list of injuries as a partial explanation for Chelsea’s struggles in attack, including the serious knee injury to France forward Christopher Nkunku in a pre-season friendly.
However, Pochettino knows that Chelsea historically hasn’t been a patient club, as the hire-and-fire culture of the Abramovich era continues under Boehly’s leadership.
Chelsea parted ways with Thomas Tuchel early in the previous season and sacked Graham Potter in April, less than seven months into his tenure when the club was in 11th place.
Pochettino made a name for himself during his five years at Tottenham and later took charge at PSG, where he won the Ligue 1 title. However, he fell short of PSG’s main objective of winning the Champions League, leaving his managerial record somewhat lacking in silverware compared to some of his Premier League counterparts.
Chelsea’s next matches include a League Cup third-round fixture against in-form Brighton, followed by a Premier League clash with local rivals Fulham, as well as matches against Arsenal, Tottenham, and reigning champions Manchester City.
While there are currently no signs that the club’s hierarchy is preparing to make a change, they may feel compelled to act soon unless there is a significant improvement in Chelsea’s fortunes.