Gary Neville is optimistic of a quick turnaround for Chelsea under Mauricio Pochettino and has made a big prediction for next season. The former Spurs manager has agreed a deal to join at the end of the season, football.london understands, but an announcement is yet to be made.
It is a silence from the club that has worried some with the form on the field continuing to leave plenty to be desired. Frank Lampard now has just one more game in charge, a second managerial farewell on Sunday for the home clash to Newcastle.
The next time Chelsea are in league action after that is expected to be Pochettino’s first appearance as the new head coach and Neville thinks it’s a marriage made in heaven with some high expectations.
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“He did it at Tottenham where he refined the squad back from where it was and weeded out the players that he didn’t want very quickly and was clinical around that and then worked around a very talented group of players that he developed into a real fantastic team,” Neville said ahead of the match at Old Trafford with Manchester United.
“I think Chelsea have got a similar situation and obviously they’ve got more players than Tottenham had there but I think he’ll look at this group of players and think that with one or two additions, a centre-back, a midfield player, obviously needs a striker. Maybe one of those other two positions and a striker in the first transfer window.
“I think he thinks he can turn these into a top three challenging team, I don’t think that’s unrealistic but they definitely need moulding quickly. He’ll want to refine the changing room and get the players in the dressing room that he wants.”
The Blues certainly have plenty to be getting on with in the mean time with over 15 first team players potentially on their way out in the summer. It will be a big streamlining exercise for the new ownership group that have stockpiled the squad.
“The squad size is something that the club will address, the new manager will understand that,” Lampard explained before the game. “The manager will come in with his tactical work and style. There are a lot of basics and standards that have dropped down visibly.”
Pochettino is a man known to demanding of his players in that sense and Neville can the club structure being moulded to help the incumbent boss. He added: “I’m not surprised in the last 24-hours that we’ve seen Todd Boehly taking step back, that’s just PR, that happens all the time, Ed Woodward said that for a few years here.
“I think the reason it has four, five, six weeks, the Pochettino discussions, is he’ll be making sure – the money with Mauricio won’t be an issue – he’s got the right team around him in the first team squad, the medical squad, sports scientists.
“Also that there’s not going to be that interference from above. There’s been stories this season where Chelsea’s owners, sporting directors, have interfered and been in the dressing room, commenting in a which in which they shouldn’t do.
“That’s what he’ll be making sure is happening and he won’t come in – he’s got too much experience now – unless the conditions are right and I suspect he’s got authority on that now.”
It is set to be a big shake up for Chelsea but one that could finally settle down the club after 12 months of change.
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