Mauricio Pochettino puts Stamford Bridge apathy down to last season’s struggles

Mauricio Pochettino Puts Stamford Bridge Apathy Down To Last Season’s Struggles
Mauricio Pochettino, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Robert O'Connor, PA

Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea’s struggles last season are responsible for the apathy observed at Stamford Bridge during home games under his tenure.

The team won just three Premier League games at home in the first 11 months of 2023 under managers Graham Potter, Bruno Saltor, Frank Lampard and Pochettino.


Between January and the beginning of December they scored 18 goals in 19 games, though four came in a single, frenetic draw with Manchester City in the final match of that run.

Since then their form in west London has improved markedly. They are unbeaten since losing to Brentford on October 28 and have won four consecutive games, their best run at home in the league since winning six in a row during Lampard’s first spell, either side of the 2020 Covid shutdown.

Despite this, the atmosphere around the ground has been noticeably subdued, with recent victories against Fulham, Preston and Sheffield United, in which the team lacked creativity for long periods, particularly quiet.


Chelsea host Middlesbrough on Tuesday needing to win by two goals to overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat at the Riverside two weeks ago and progress to the Carabao Cup final.

“We’re paying now for the effect of the last 18 months,” said Pochettino. “We (he and his coaching staff) are here for six months, sometimes for us it’s difficult for us to compare. We’re getting better results now, but the disappointment from the fans is coming from last season.

“Now people can give their opinion, it’s a bit flat. There’s been disappointment for a long period. But how we feel at Stamford Bridge is very good.


“OK, in a few periods in some games, maybe against Nottingham Forest (a 1-0 loss in September) or Brentford the energy was down because the team didn’t engage the fans. That’s our mistake.

“But against Arsenal (a 2-2 draw), City, Brighton (a 3-2 win), Liverpool (1-1), the fans were really good.

“People believed that Fulham would be easy, but Fulham wasn’t easy for Liverpool. They beat Arsenal. We played Preston, it’s difficult, (their) motivation, the beauty of the cup. The inferior team can match you in different aspects and you can suffer.

“When you feel so disappointed because of last season, you lose too many games at home, the energy is a little bit down.”

Pochettino will be without Christopher Nkunku who continues to be plagued by a hip injury, though the manager reiterated the problem is not serious.

Defender Malo Gusto, who has proved an able deputy for sidelined captain Reece James, is the latest addition to an absentee list currently standing at nine names.

Nevertheless, Pochettino is happy with recent progress.

“In December we were one of the best teams in England,” he said. “Now (but for) the defeat against Middlesbrough, the results are not too bad, they are good. The problem is the feelings (from last season), because we lose the first leg against Middlesbrough, there was a bit of a strange feeling.

“The results are good and we need to keep doing well and improving.”

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