Contrasting finales for Chelsea boss as Pochettino pays price for failing to secure Champions League football but Hayes collects silverware


Those who felt Mauricio Pochettino was going to be given a second season at the helm were living in cloud-cuckoo land.

The Argentine was given his marching orders on Tuesday having overseen his side snatch sixth place in the Premier League following five league wins in a row.

That gives them European football next season, but not in the one which gives you the cup with the big ears.

Pochettino simply did not deliver on the most important of the goals required – qualification for the Champions League as a minimum and a tilt at the title as a bonus.

Newcastle and Manchester United faded in the latter part of the season while the Blues followed their 5-0 hammering at Arsenal by beating teams who were already on the beach with their towels neatly placed on their deck chairs – only Nottingham Forest had much to play for and the Blues almost blew that.

The club programme on Sunday, rumoured to be the last the club will print, had a message from the elusive owners – the Chelsea Ownership Group.

Yep, not even a person to hang the message on. At least Chelsea had Brian Mears, Ken Bates and Roman Abramovich in the past to vent their ire or praise on.

But a group gives protection.

Anyhow, basically they stated – poignantly at the end of the season what their objectives are.

It’s broadly what the club has been successfully saying and doing for the past 23 years.

It falls into five categories, which effectively say, the team has to be winning or in contention for the title, playing in the Champions League and chasing domestic cups, making sure the kids’ teams are successful, which means developing young talent, being aware of community issues and adhering to financial rules. The last bit is earning the trust and confidence of the supporters.

Now Poch is not responsible for all of those, but he failed to deliver Champions League or title ambitions.

He was brought in at a time of squad upheaval where experience leached out the door like a burst water pipe, only to be replaced by a bunch of immature alternatives, who, while younger and apparently talented, had very little Premier League experience.

Pochettino was relying on a 39-year-old defender – Thiago Silva, who, while having all the experience in the world could not command a changing room – he allowed social media and his wife Bella to vent his frustration at the indiscipline within the club.

Whoever takes over at the helm for next season, should, before signing anything, conduct due diligence on the role they are being offered.

Sort out where they have responsibilities and if they want more control, ensure that is inserted in their contract.

Too often clubs will say one thing to a candidate, and offer them something else. Usually candidates will take what’s on offer and hope to change it after a season to give them more control.

That’s where the falling out happens and the inevitable parting of the ways occurs.

It’s not just Chelsea that has this issue of course. The really successful clubs that have longevity at the top, always have a clearly defined role for the manager, giving him or her the tools to do the job they have mutually agreed on.

This is why Chelsea and others have no stability.

Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, Manchester Utd under Alex Ferguson are examples of how it works.

Chelsea are heading towards becoming a stepping stone club in managers’ careers, rather than a desirable and important position.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barclays Women’s Super League and her final match as manager of the club at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday May 18, 2024.

Chelsea Women are due to announce Sonia Bompastor as the successor to Emma Hayes, who ended her 12-year stint as manager at the weekend, when her charges hammered Manchester United 6-0 at Old Trafford to lift the Super League title for the fifth year in a row.

Bompastor, 43, is in charge of Lyon, who face Barcelona in tomorrow’s Champions League final.

The former midfielder has won the Champions League as a player and manager and was the club’s first choice.

Whether she will be given the same freedoms to make controversial and expensive decisions which Hayes developed during her time at Chelsea is something that remains to be seen.

If the two sporting directors of the club, Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, give her free reign, the Blues should fulfil the same footballing brief that has become the poison chalice of so many head coaches on the men’s side – Pochettino being just the latest.

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