Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea in-tray: Fitness issues and squad harmony among problems incoming boss must fix
Mauricio Pochettino is officially the new manager of Chelsea and he is immediately tasked with fixinga club in disarray.
Here, Standard Sport takes a look at his crammed in-tray at Stamford Bridge.
Get forwards firing
Scoring goals has been a major issue for Chelsea.
Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and now Frank Lampard have all failed to get their attack to click. Chelsea managed just 38 goals in the Premier League and finished the season with a club-record low number of goals.
Pochettino turned Tottenham into a brilliant attacking team, and he will need to get a tune out of the wealth of attacking talent at the club.
After spending more than £200million on attacking players this season, Chelsea could go back into the transfer market to sign a striker, which would help.
Decide which players he wants and repair squad harmony
Chaotic recruitment under Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital has left Chelsea with an obvious issue: they have too many players.
Their £600m transfer spend has, so far, been a footballing disaster.
At Cobham, players are getting changed in corridors, due to a lack of dressing-room space for their 32-man squad.
Morale and team spirit is thought to be at an all-time low and players signed for a huge transfer fees and on big wages are failing to make squads or being frozen out.
Chelsea are set for a summer clear-out and one of Pochettino’s first jobs must be deciding which players he wants with him and be ruthless in shifting ones he wants to offload. He did just that at Spurs when he quickly dispensed of Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue.
Kai Havertz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Conor Gallagher, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly, Cesar Azpilicueta, Edouard Mendy, Trevoh Chalobah and Mateo Kovacic all face uncertain futures at the club.
So, too, does Mason Mount, who has a year left on his deal and could join Liverpool or Manchester United.
Address fitness issues
In a startling admission last month, Lampard admitted Chelsea players are not fit enough.
They are being outrun by their Premier League rivals, and mismanagement behind the scenes has resulted in poor fitness levels in the squad.
Impressive running distances have been a feature of Pochettino’s teams at his previous clubs, and his assistant, Jesus Perez, will work closely with the Chelsea medical department to ensure the players are in the best possible physical condition.
There have also been injury problems at Chelsea this season which need to be addressed, and Mount and Reece James were recently ruled out for the season.
Trust the academy
Morale in the academy is also at an all-time low, with players being signed from overseas to fill spots in the Under-21s and a host of young signings in the first team on eight-year contracts.
The academy building at Cobham risks being devalued by the chaos at the club, as youngsters no longer feel appreciated.
Pochettino brought through a young Harry Kane and Dele Alli at Tottenham and must build some bridges to show pathways for the youngsters.
Reunite the club and the fans
Chelsea legend Didier Drogba claimed “I no longer recognise my club” in a scathing attack on Boehly and Clearlake following last month’s defeat by Real Madrid.
It is a feeling shared by many supporters, and the charismatic Pochettino needs to get everyone pulling in the same direction, like he did at Spurs.
As well as showing competence in the dugout, he needs to engage with fans and provide some fighting talk.