Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino insists it’s “not a competition” between the Blues and Liverpool for signings as it was “the players’ decision” to join.
Pochettino’s side have beaten Liverpool to the signings of Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia this summer with the new signings eventually preferring a move to Chelsea over the Reds.
Chelsea paid Brighton a fee that could reach £115m for Caicedo, while Lavia joined from Southampton in a £53m deal with another potential £5m coming in the form of add-ons.
On beating Liverpool to signings, Pochettino said: “That is the players’ decision. They decide to come here. I think it’s not a competition, it’s the players’ decision to join us. It makes us happy and they talk very highly about our owners.”
Michael Olise was another player who Chelsea were interested in but the Crystal Palace winger decided to snub the Blues and sign a new four-year deal at Selhurst Park.
On Olise signing a new deal at Palace, Pochettino added: “We are working of course. Seeing all of the options we can manage on the market.
“I think at the same time, we are keeping one or two eyes on Armando Broja. We cannot forget him, we cannot stop him. We really believe in him. He can be a really important striker for Chelsea and we need to be careful.
“It’s a big disappointment, the situation with Christoph to help Nico Jackson to score goals but that is football and we need to accept that situation.”
On being a ‘friend’ to his players, Pochettino continued: “You need to be strong like a coach, but at the same time you can be friendly, honest, tough and in the way I think we can approach today, the people, the young guys, these guys could be my kids, you know? It’s important nowadays to understand the psychology of the players.”
Chelsea face West Ham on Sunday and Pochettino is expecting a “tough” match against David Moyes’ side after the Blues drew 1-1 in their opening weekend fixture against Liverpool.
Asked about the challenge of facing West Ham, Pochettino replied: “It’s going to be tough. We know how they are going to play. It’s always going to be tough because all the Premier League games will be difficult. They have a very good team and are doing a great job.”
On whether Caicedo and Lavia will make their debuts against the Hammers, Pochettino said: “We need to assess them. They have been stressful weeks for Moises and Romeo. We don’t need to rush with them. If they are ready tomorrow, they will be involved. If not, we will wait a few days more.”