New Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino takes over a team who have just finished 12th and recorded their lowest ever Premier League points tally.
He will be tasked with overseeing a big improvement in results and Mail Sport looks at some of the areas that will need addressing in order to get Chelsea back on track.
Interim manager Frank Lampard has chosen his words carefully when discussing the situation he inherited from Graham Potter.
One thing he has not shied away from is the drop in standards around Chelsea. He knows how high they need to be having been at the club during the peak years. Bringing them back will be one of Pochettino’s primary tasks and help set the tone for his reign.
The departures of a string of staff who knew what is required to bring silverware to Chelsea have been viewed as worrying developments that created a void of know-how at the trophy-winning know-how at the club.
Mauricio Pochettino has a major task on his hands after being confirmed as Chelsea manager
Outgoing caretaker boss Frank Lampard has spoken of improving the standards at the club
Pochettino must instil a sense of togetherness after taking over a Chelsea side lacing direction
It cannot be Pochettino’s sole responsibility to rectify that raise the bar again but the likes of Erik Ten Hag, Roberto De Zerbi and Unai Emery have all shown the powerful, transformative impact a strong manager can have in one season on a whole club at United, Brighton and Aston Villa respectively.
Creating a spirit, culture and unity was something that he prioritised early on in his spells at Southampton and Tottenham. At Southampton and Spurs he had players walking on hot coals while in north London he was behind the installing of communal barbecue areas at the training ground.
Picking the perfect methods to help instil a sense of togetherness at Chelsea will likely be among the early aims for Pochettino.
The 51 year-old is big on respect – not just for him, but everyone being treated the same regardless of job title – and also energy and positivity. He will surely be a mood changer at Stamford Bridge.
How much of this Chelsea can get done this summer will go a long way to defining Pochettino’s first season. There is huge work to do both in and out this summer.
The squad is too big – over 30 players – and that’s before some of the loanees return and pre-agreed signings such as Christopher Nkunku and Malo Gusto arrive.
Some players need to go, there are unsettled ones who want out while others may have to leave against their wishes in order for the squad to be brought down to more manageable levels.
Pochettino would certainly prefer a smaller sized pool of players to work, one which allows for genuine competition for places but also leaves room for him to hand training and playing opportunities to academy or young players to show whether they can make the step up.
Chelsea will look to trim their bloated squad of over 30 players during the summer window
RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku will join the Blues this summer in a pre-agreed deal
Chelsea’s need for goals could open the door for Romelu Lukaku after his Inter Milan loan spell
That will be good news for a number of Chelsea prospects. A central midfielder, striker and goalkeeper are being targeted.
There is a belief at Chelsea that in Enzo Fernandez they have potentially one of the world’s best no8s. He has shown his potential. Get him a commanding, more defensive minded partner and he should flourish further.
The need for a regular source of goals, opening the door for Romelu Lukaku to return, and upgrade between the sticks is clear.
There was a youthful emphasis to Chelsea’s January transfer business but a bit more experience, particularly of the Premier League type, is needed. So too is improved alignment throughout the club from the top down and it was noted during discussions how willing Pochettino was to slot into the club’s existing structure and he will work closely with co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart.
Coach into cohesive unit
One area Pochettino excels is on the training pitch and that is the sort of manager this group badly needs. One whose top-level, coaching credentials, particularly in the Premier League, speak for themselves and who is capable of inspiring them from the touchline.
There has been a lack of clarity at Chelsea since the change of ownership which has been reflected on the pitch. No manager has been able to implement a style. Pochettino should fare better and has the aura and man-management skills to communicate effectively and secure buy-in.
Pochettino will give his new group plenty in order to improve them but also expect the same back in terms of sheer hard work. In his book Brave New World Pochettino, a disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, explains how similar the latter’s Newell’s Old Boys team – the first senior side Chelsea’s new head coach played in – was to his Spurs team – intense, high-pressing, fast-paced.
‘We looked to dominate physically and our game was about suffocating our opponents, making them uncomfortable when we did not have the ball. We needed to believe in the coach for it to work.’
The description sounds very much like his very best Spurs sides, especially those he fielded in their final period at White Hart Lane. Pochettino’s previous connections might be a source of contention for some but he will not go wrong if he can replicate the style of his relentless Spurs teams at Stamford Bridge. In order to do so, the fitness levels Lampard mentioned as an issue will have to be raised.
Pochettino excels on the training pitch and implemented a clear style of play at Tottenham
Under Pochettino Spurs once went unbeaten at home for a whole season, winning 17 and drawing two of their 19 league games in their final campaign at White Hart Lane, showing the sort of dominant force Pochettino can build.
Chelsea have had a poor season full stop, looking increasingly devoid of confidence as it progressed, but especially on their own patch.
Only five teams had a worse home record than Chelsea in 2022/23. They won just six of 19 games at home, scoring only 20 goals.
They weren’t much better on their travels, ending 11th in the away table. But their form at Stamford Bridge can provide a platform for the revival and it is a clear area for improvement.
The ground and team have lost their aura with it being notable during the season how little teams feared playing at Chelsea.
Pochettino led Spurs to an unbeaten home season and will aim for similar at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea won just six home matches this season and must improve in front of their supporters