March 28, 2024

Chelsea news: Mauricio Pochettino warned about major dressing room problem | Football | Sport

legend Gianfranco Zola has warned that striking the right balance of experience and youth in the dressing room will be crucial to achieving success at Stamford Bridge. Pochettino arrived last summer under the weight of great expectations but the Blues are ambling towards a second consecutive bottom-half finish.

Pochettino did at least lead Chelsea to the Carabao Cup final back in February. Once there, however, their inexperience came to the fore as the former Tottenham manager admitted many of his younger players ‘did not sleep’ the night before Liverpool prevailed.

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has overseen a transfer policy built on exclusively signing players under the age of 25. Huge sums have been splashed on some of the world’s most promising youngsters, but it is yet to bring success on the pitch.

Zola, who scored 80 goals in 312 games for Chelsea, is not surprised. “They used to have a core team of four or five players with the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Branislav Ivanovic among a couple of others, and Chelsea would build their team around those players,” he told William Hill.

“Those players had the knowledge, the experience, the character and the personality which all combined with the know-how of how to be a successful team and be winners.

“Those players were the ones to spread those fundamental traits to the new players within the team, as well as many of the players who came up through the ranks in the youth team. Because they were in that environment with those core players, they could develop those attributes and abilities.”

“Some of the players that they had who they let go were important, I think they had that know-how and could have stayed longer because they needed to transfer that knowledge to the young ones.”

It remains to be seen whether Pochettino is given the chance to put things right next season, with Boehly and Clearlake Capital set to decide his future this summer. A respectable seventh-place finish is still within reach, and Chelsea face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals next month.


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