Mauricio Pochettino had disagreement with Chelsea bosses over key decision before shock departure

Mauricio Pochettino during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea FC.

Chelsea's decision to bring in a set-piece specialist has been cited as one of the reasons behind Mauricio Pochettino's exit from his managerial role, according to reports.

The Argentine's departure from Stamford Bridge was confirmed on Tuesday evening, following reports that his relationship with the Blues' top brass had become strained. Less than a year after Pochettino was ushered into Chelsea, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint Germain boss was making his way out.

Despite a turbulent season, the two-time Champions League victors did manage to secure European qualification on the final day of the campaign, but it wasn't enough to keep Pochettino on for another term. While his exit has sparked worries about Chelsea's next managerial appointment - their fourth permanent boss of the Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali era - it has at least spared Pochettino some embarrassment.

According to The Telegraph, Pochettino had been sceptical about the idea of bringing in a new set-piece specialist for the upcoming season - a move that the Chelsea board decided to proceed with regardless. The report suggests that Bernardo Cueva - a now ex-statistician at Premier League rivals Brentford - is poised to join Chelsea in the near future. Moreover, Cueva will also lead a revamped set-piece department at Chelsea, as the board continues to reshape the Blues' off-field strategy.

The introduction of a set-piece department, which takes away some responsibilities from the manager and his staff, reportedly led to frustrations on Pochettino's side. His philosophy around football is at odds with the culture that Boehly and his team are trying to establish at Chelsea, with the 52-year-old preferring a holistic approach as opposed to Clearlake Capital's data-driven methods.

Now, Chelsea's focus shifts towards finding a head coach who is comfortable working within a system rather than leading one themselves. Reports suggest that Chelsea have no plans to bring back Thomas Tuchel, Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte, indicating another fresh start this summer.

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Instead, a 'younger' and more 'progressive' coach is expected to be sought after, with Sebastian Hoeness and Kieran McKenna, along with Brentford's Thomas Frank, being early favourites.

The hunt for their next manager will be led by sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, with the Chelsea board agreeing that the recruitment process should be finished before the non-international players return for pre-season training on July 4.