Mauricio Pochettino previews Chelsea's clash with Spurs
Mauricio Pochettino has been told his Chelsea players are not entirely happy playing under him after Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou was praised for putting a smile on the face of his squad. Pochettino has endured a bumpy start to his reign at Stamford Bridge and faces a difficult homecoming in north London when he takes his Chelsea side to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday night, with a significant difference in happiness between the two teams at present, according to one of their former players.
Spurs are currently top of the Premier League with eight wins from 10 games and are unbeaten since Postecoglou took charge in July. Summer signings Micky van de Ven and James Maddison have been at the forefront of their success, while the Australian boss has been praised for instilling an effective and entertaining style of play in a short space of time.
The situation is somewhat different on the west side of London, where Chelsea continue to struggle after finishing 12th last season. Under the Argentinian, they have won only three of their 10 games in the Premier Leagie this season and against his former club, Pochettino will be desperate to come away with three points.
But according to ex-Arsenal and Chelsea player Petit, 53, that will be no easy feat as Spurs are playing with confidence, with the Frenchman also questioning if Chelsea’s squad members are happy playing under Pochettino.
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“The confidence that Ange Postecoglou has instilled in the players is amazing, especially in midfield,” Petit said, speaking to OLBG. “You can see they play as friends and they’re enjoying their football – and that’s so important.
“The Marseille manager [Gennaro Gattuso] said that the manager should always talk about players in press conferences if they’re not happy. It’s impossible for every player to always be happy, but you must work at it.
“Pochettino has tried to get that with his team, but I’m not sure how many players are arriving with a smile on their face. Compare that to Tottenham! You can see the support from the managers and the players. They’re enjoying it, and that’s so important for me.”
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The 51-year-old has faced a much more chaotic rebuild than Postecoglou this summer after watching 17 players leave and 11 new signings arrive, with a £420million spend on transfers offset by raising nearly £300m in sales. And Pochettino believes it is only a matter of time before things start coming together for his side, the second-youngest squad in the top flight this season.
“You can feel we are improving, progressing, it is part of the process, part of the project, it is normal when you have young players who arrive at a club like Chelsea and the demand is high from the beginning,” he said in a press conference on Friday.
“The demand and the competition doesn’t wait for you. You need to put all the details, come from a different league, a young guy and put pressure on you. That is why it is about the process. I am not worried, I am not concerned about that because we know what we are doing and we are going to perform and translate our performances into good results.”
It will be Pochettino’s first return to his former club since he was sacked by Daniel Levy in November 2019. Spurs can move 15 points clear of their London rivals with a home win on Monday night, while Chelsea will climb into the top half if they record a victory.
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