Mauricio Pochettino makes plea for patience from Chelsea owners

<span>Mauricio Pochettino during the Carabao Cup final.</span><span>Photograph: Jacques Feeney/Offside/Getty Images</span>
Mauricio Pochettino during the Carabao Cup final.Photograph: Jacques Feeney/Offside/Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino has urged Chelsea’s owners to stay patient and give him time to revive the club’s fortunes.

Pochettino, whose future is uncertain after losing the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool, was in a defiant mood before hosting Leeds United in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday night. The Argentinian believes Chelsea have made progress this season and is confident there will be no knee-jerk reactions from the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership.

“I have good people next to me, the coaching staff,” Chelsea’s head coach said. “The staff of the club, after eight months we have built a very good bond. When players really believe in the way we are working it takes time. After a few months people are: ‘Too much, oh why this and that.’

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“Now the satisfaction of the players is to say: ‘Yes, that is the way.’ The problem is that we need time and patience to win games. And we need the patience from the owner to give the possibility to keep going.”

Pochettino, who defended his record so passionately that one answer lasted seven minutes and 22 seconds, insisted his relationship with the co-controlling owners, Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, remained strong. He received a supportive text from Boehly after losing to Liverpool and met with Eghbali to discuss the final.

“I feel the support from them,” Pochettino said. “I cannot lie to you. When I went up the steps at Wembley, I was so upset. Nearly crying. When I arrived there, it was so difficult to stop myself. But I saw Behdad, I saw Todd and I shook hands with both of them. Then I got a text later, a very, very nice text. Then I met Behdad two hours later, away from Wembley in London.

“He was really, really good – disappointed like everyone but happy with the performance in 90 minutes but knew we couldn’t keep that energy in extra time. I think people are clever enough to understand.”

Pochettino denied he had been told that his job security relies on Chelsea, who are 11th in the Premier League, qualifying for Europe. He expressed weariness with critics who respond to every disappointing result by pointing to the £1bn spending on transfers.

There was also some humour from Pochettino when he addressed the Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville branding Chelsea “blue billion-pound bottle jobs” after their insipid performance during extra-time against Liverpool. “He is Manchester United and wanted Liverpool to lose,” Pochettino said.

Injuries have hit Chelsea hard this season. The France forward Christopher Nkunku is expected to be out for up to four weeks after yet another setback. Nkunku has made two league starts since joining from RB Leipzig last summer.