Pochettino sacked as Chelsea brains trust choose the path of unsalvageable stupidity

Dave Tickner
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino's training methods were 'primitive' according to his players.

We will direct you, if we may to the words of Matt Stead upon these very pages not eight hours ago.

Chelsea considering their situation this summer is sensible, but if they come to any conclusion which sees Pochettino leave they are unsalvageably stupid.

Ah! Well. Nevertheless,

Unsalvageably stupid it is, then. Mauricio Pochettino is gone. Back to square one they head. Sell all your good homegrown players and spaff all that lovely pure profit lucre on some unsuitable £100m Brazilians.

Those of us who watched the closing weeks of the season with growing fear that Chelsea might actually be on a path to somewhere coherent and real can once again breathe a sigh of relief.

What an absolute waste of a difficult but ultimately really rather promising season that now is for Chelsea. Let’s not pretend for one second all of it was perfect or that Pochettino himself didn’t make mistakes. But let’s also be real and accept that the manager who could come into that sh*tshow and instantly spin it into gold doesn’t exist.

Having taken the best part of a year to unravel Todd Boehly’s mess and mould it into something halfway workable, Pochettino very reasonably asked for more say in transfers. Again, to reiterate Stead’s words from earlier today: not the only say. Not even the loudest say. Just a voice in the room where it happens. It really isn’t an unfair or unrealistic demand from a manager inevitably emboldened by that late-season encouragement that saw them secure sixth place and European football next season.

Now the knots that Poch had started so carefully unpicking are once again as tangled as ever. A new manager will have to start the process again. That new manager will presumably be one willing to acquiesce on transfer matters and thus Chelsea are right back where they found themselves a year ago.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Unsalvageably stupid or the correct decision? Join the debate here.

It’s worth noting that even with this latest demand with which Pochettino has apparently gone beyond the pale for Chelsea’s owners, there remain vanishingly few coaches anywhere near his level willing to be as ambivalent on transfer activity as he is. This is a man who was able to have a very cordial working relationship with Daniel Levy for five years. He made the occasional noise about the need for a ‘painful rebuild’ (something he was 100 per cent right about, by the way) but he did not stamp his feet and demand this, that or the other at a time when Spurs were constrained by ballooning stadium building costs.

For the most part, Pochettino got on with it with pretty minimal fuss. We are, inevitably, guessing here but given what we know of Chelsea’s owners and what we know of their now former manager, it seems vanishingly unlikely this is a proportionate response to an unacceptable demand.

It looks like what it almost certainly is. Owners out of their depth bristling at any perceived challenge to their absolute authority.

Which means it will be fascinating to see which coach is willing to work with them next. Who looks at the treatment of Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and now Pochettino and thinks ‘Yes, that’s the club for me.’

We reserve the absolute right to laugh our cocks clean off if Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton exit really is, as some scampish early reports indicate, a case of two plus two equalling four. Going back to Brighton for another manager would be a move beyond parody for Chelsea even before taking into consideration the two clubs’ respective directions of travel over the closing weeks of the season.

Maybe he will happily nod along with whatever Chelsea’s Very Clever Overlords want to do and whoever they want to sell or sign. Maybe it’ll all work out; he’s a fine coach despite this season’s struggles.

But the odds are against it for De Zerbi or anyone else entering this absolute basket case of an organisation.

Maybe Pochettino wasn’t going to crack it, but if he’s the wrong man now he was the wrong man in December and the wrong man in August. Whenever a club parts with a manager one can generally sense the lack of self-awareness or introspection from those doing the firing giving barely a second thought to their part in the hiring.

Rarely has it been as nakedly apparent as in this case. Because Chelsea appear to be in the market for a unicorn manager, one capable and hard-nosed enough to make Chelsea’s expensive mish-mash of a squad work on the field, but compliant enough to wave through and nod along with any and all decisions from above.

They will never find their unicorn and it’s hard to see how Chelsea can ever reclaim their glory days if they’re going to insist on remaining this irredeemably stupid.

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