• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Pochettino admits costly Chelsea transfer error


Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has acknowledged a transfer mistake, conceding that his squad lacks experienced players.

Pochettino revealed plans to rectify this issue in the upcoming transfer window by prioritising the acquisition of seasoned professionals, a departure from the club’s recent focus on youth.

In the 2023/24 season, Chelsea’s signings skewed towards younger talents, with the oldest arrivals being 25-year-olds Christopher Nkunku, Robert Sanchez, and Axel Disasi.

The previous season saw the addition of Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Kalidou Koulibaly, though only Sterling remains at the club. Sterling, now the third-oldest player in the squad, alongside reserve goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and veteran Thiago Silva, are the only players over 30, a situation Pochettino aims to address.

“In the squad, we have Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling who have experience, or Marcus Bettinelli who maybe is not playing but I want to say that he is doing a fantastic job because he’s helping the young guys,” the Argentine boss said. “So we have experienced guys also in the squad.

“That is not going against the project. That is trying to have some guys who are helping the young guys to be professional, to perform, to understand what the Premier League means and the standards of Chelsea.

“We need to bring more young players and some experienced players. That is all about talking with the club, analysing, and deciding the strategy for next season. That is really important.”

Pochettino emphasized the importance of experienced players in guiding and mentoring the younger members of the squad, citing the example of his successful tenure at Tottenham, where he developed talents like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Eric Dier alongside seasoned professionals.

The Argentine manager highlighted the need for a balanced squad composition, with a mix of youth and experience crucial for long-term success.

He stressed the role of older players in nurturing leadership qualities among the younger generation, drawing parallels with iconic Chelsea figures like John Terry and Didier Drogba, who evolved into leaders over time.

“We are in a project where 80 or 90 per cent of the players are young and maybe they need to grow together. Of course, they need some help. That is why we are here, to help them in this process, to become leaders and be improving,” he added.

“But we are talking about so many players who only arrived at Chelsea and the Premier League this season. John Terry was young also and needed to build, he wasn’t already the leader of the team at 18 or 19.

“It’s like if you compare Nicolas Jackson with Didier Drogba in his first season. Jackson could be a leader, but Drogba wasn’t the leader in his first season. So of course with time we can create good leaders.”

Pochettino’s comments reflect a strategic shift towards building a cohesive squad capable of sustained success, with an emphasis on nurturing talent while providing the necessary support and guidance for their development into future leaders.