What Mauricio Pochettino has said about Chelsea return ahead of Soccer Aid

Mauricio Pochettino during a Chelsea game at Stamford Bridge
-Credit: (Image: HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino has already spoken out about his upcoming return to Stamford Bridge, less than a month after walking away from the Chelsea job.

The 52-year-old was in the role for just 11 months but left through mutual consent after a meeting with co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali alongside their sporting directors just over two weeks ago. Despite having finished sixth in the Premier League, and therefore guaranteeing European football at Stamford Bridge next season, Pochettino's exit is believed to have stemmed from the proposed limitations he'd have in his role in the club's future transfer decisions.

Since then, the Blues have confirmed the appointment of former Leicester City manager Enzo Maresca, who will guide them into the club's first ever Europa Conference League campaign and will hope for them to improve upon Pochettino's sixth-place finish in the Premier League.

He'll be hard-pressed to improve on the club's domestic cup competition results from last season though, with the Blues only losing the final of the Carabao Cup late in extra time to Liverpool and the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City in a close 1-0 defeat.

Maresca is already set to bring in his first signing of the summer transfer window, with Fulham confirming 26-year-old centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo's departure from the club as a free agent earlier this week. The Blues are set to snatch up the star in order to replace Thiago Silva, the 39-year-old having moved to Fluminense after a legendary four-year stint at Stamford Bridge.

Silva was just one of what is set to be many departures from Chelsea following the end of the 2023/24 season, with Pochettino also taking his leave allowing Maresca to be appointed. Taking to his social media pages earlier this week, Pochettino highlighted the support he's received from supporters and believes he has left the squad at a level upon which they can build with Maresca at the helm.

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He said: "To the owners, the sporting directors we appreciate the opportunity to return to the Premier League at this great club @Chelsea and for the support you gave us, as well as from all the players, staff and fans - thank you.

"We understand how important this football club is to you all and that is why we work so hard to give you a Chelsea you can be proud of. I am so pleased with the level the team reached and the way the players and staff have all worked so hard to increase their standards, they deserve great credit and I hope you felt that too in how they performed on the pitch.

"We know there have been ups and downs but we always believed in this team and that we would arrive at a consistent level. I believe the experiences of this season and big improvement we saw, I hope will only make the players stronger for the future. It has been a pleasure to work with them all and we appreciate the strong bonds we created in this last year together."

The former Blues manager also pointed out his imminent return to Stamford Bridge as the manager of the World XI for this year's edition of Soccer Aid which takes place this Sunday. "I want to wish all of you the best for next season and beyond," he continued.

"It is great that we have the chance to return to Stamford Bridge so soon with @socceraid this weekend and I hope that we get to see some of you there too. I hope you all get to have a great summer. Big hug from us. MP x".

Chelsea legends Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard, Petr Cech, Michael Essien, Joe Cole and John Obi Mikel are all taking part at the event this weekend, alongside celebrities like Usain Bolt, Livi Sheldon, Sam Quek and Mo Farah.