Mauricio Pochettino: five problems he's failed to solve at Chelsea as pressure begins to mount

Mauricio Pochettino has improved Chelsea, but there's been no significant progress, writes Rahman Osman.

For the first time since taking over the Chelsea job, Mauricio Pochettino admitted he doesn't "feel the love" from Chelsea fans after his side rescued a point against Brentford over the weekend.

But that comment was a spill-over from the chants from the Chelsea end at the GTech Community stadium. For a large part of the game, you could see visible progress from last season, especially when Nicolas Jackson powered through two defenders to head home the first goal.

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Shortly before that, he had missed a sitter, but so is his resolve that he just never stops and it paid off after he connected with the brilliant Malo Gusto's cross.

Then the chaos started to happen as has often been the case, first Brentford exposing Chelsea's defensive fragility again and again to go level. Then the Bees lead from Yohan Wissa highlighted why Chelsea have predominantly been midtable all season.

So with everything that has happened, here are five problems Pochettino has failed to address.

Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at fan chants. Chelsea face Newcastle United next Monday night.Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at fan chants. Chelsea face Newcastle United next Monday night.
Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at fan chants. Chelsea face Newcastle United next Monday night.

Reunited a divided fanbase

Every successful Chelsea manager in the past has managed to get the fanbase behind him. From Jose Mourinho to Thomas Tuchel. One of the things Pochettino has failed to do so far is to convince the Chelsea die-hards he's the right man for the job.

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At Brentford there were chants directed at the Argentinian, Chelsea's co-owner Todd Boehly and calls for Mourinho the club's greatest manager of all time to return. By the time Axel Disasi got the leveller late on, most had already poured their frustration on Pochettino.

Even he admitted times were rough and his team had to do better if they wanted the admiration of a fanbase that is so used to winning big things.

He said: "No, I am not worried. We need to accept. I told you, I think someone asked me do you feel the love from the fans? No.

"We need to build our relationship between the coaching staff, the coach and the fans. You build relationships by winning games. But at the moment, the expectation, we cannot match the expectation.

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"We are not going to ask for love. I don't ask for anything. I am going to continue to work and try to change this situation and change, winning games, we now have one week before Newcastle."

For context Pochettino is Chelsea's 19th manager this century and that is counting without interim managers, while Jurgen Klopp is Liverpool's sixth. It's clear Chelsea bosses don't stick around once the fanbase doesn't take to them.

Nicolas Jackson shushes the fans after scoring. Credit: GettyNicolas Jackson shushes the fans after scoring. Credit: Getty
Nicolas Jackson shushes the fans after scoring. Credit: Getty

Build the team's confidence

Chelsea finished last season with their confidence shot to pieces. Lampard won just one game in 14 but there was the feeling that the arrival of Pochettino would lift a group of young players who were hurriedly assembled. But most of them still look unprepared and the team feels like it is just getting by rather then dominating.

When Jackson scored against Brentford, his first reaction for try and shush the fanbase. That is a player clearly feeling the heat of criticism. Enzo Fernandez was supposed to be the glue that held this team together, but by the time Chelsea were desperately chasing a leveller, his legs were gone and all he could do was watch on from the stands.

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There is no doubting Fernandez's skill and technique but there needs to be a conversation about his athleticism, especially in a league that mostly requires power to go to go with the skill and finesse.

Enzo Fernandez against Brentford. Credit: GettyEnzo Fernandez against Brentford. Credit: Getty
Enzo Fernandez against Brentford. Credit: Getty

The pattern of play issue

Normally this should not be a massive issue, but because the team has lost as many games (10) as they have won in the league there is the need to see what the playing style is. When you look at the best teams in the land, there is a clear playing style. But Chelsea seems to just struggle to find what this set of players are best at.

They did try a 3-5-2 system at Brentford and while it looked good for large part of the game, it remains to be seen if Pochettino will fine tune and help the defence from conceding. Chelsea have conceded more goals than Everton in 16th in the league.

Fear of losing

For a club that has spent £1billion in the last two transfer windows, the team has lost so many points in the last minutes of games because they try and see out the game instead of just going for the jugular. Arsenal at home and the Gunners were there for the taking but Chelsea hesitated and Mikel Arteta's team got back in it.

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Then Manchester City home and away and Liverpool when they were on the ropes. The thing with playing not to lose is that you put the players in a situation where they are likely to make mistakes and that has cost the team points and a trophy already this season.

Improve individual players

For a manager who arrived with the reputation of getting the best out of young players, it's still painful to watch the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke. The likes of Lesley Ugochukwu, Cesare Casadei and Deivid Washington have barely had a kick even when the team consistently has about eight players every match day.

Pochettino complains about lack of depth in the middle of the park but it's hard to get sympathy when you look at the way Jurgen Klopp has managed his injury situation, throwing in players that fans have barely seen to win him a trophy.