Premier League • England

Chelsea slammed by Ballon d’Or winner for Mauricio Pochettino sack – ‘A very strange club’

Todd Boehly and former Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino will be replaced at Chelsea by Enzo Maresca

Chelsea chiefs Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali are running the club ‘like a business’ and have been too harsh when sacking Mauricio Pochettino, according to Ruud Gullit.

Pochettino looked more likely to stay at Stamford Bridge after a solid end to the season which saw Chelsea finish sixth in the Premier League, qualifying them for next season’s Europa Conference League following Manchester United’s surprise FA Cup win over Manchester City.

However, worrying reports then started to reveal that Pochettino and Chelsea were planning to part ways, with neither camp happy about how the previous year had gone.

The Argentine’s exit from Chelsea was confirmed on May 21. Chelsea were keen to stress that it had been a mutual decision, but it is understood that they were the drivers behind the parting of ways, not Pochettino himself.

While Pochettino could now get the last laugh by joining Chelsea’s competitors Man Utd, Blues co-owners Boehly and Eghbali are set to appoint Enzo Maresca from Leicester City on a five-year contract.

While Maresca helped Leicester win the Championship title this season, his capture still represents a big risk for Chelsea as he does not have as much experience managing at the top level as Pochettino.

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Gullit, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1987 and also made 64 appearances during a spell at Chelsea, has now given his verdict on the West London side.

“If you don’t perform at Chelsea, you are immediately out. That is still the case,” the Dutch hero said in a recent interview.

Chelsea latest: Pochettino exit questioned

“That was already the case in my time under Ken Bates. I still think it is a very strange club, it also happened to Carlo Ancelotti. Pochettino was in a difficult position, he knew that.

“And he actually managed to squeeze out a reasonable performance, although it was not great.

“During my period I still had the feeling: this is a football club. There was another thought behind it, with Roman Abramovich. But if you look now: you can’t really identify with that, can you? It seems like a business model; it’s just making money.”

It took Chelsea fans time to properly get behind Pochettino due to his successful spell with their rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

But there were signs that real progress was being made in the final stages of the season, so the Chelsea supporters will not be happy about the 52-year-old coach leaving.

Pochettino was brought in to lead a long-term project and help Chelsea to challenge for trophies in a few years’ time, but Boehly and Eghbali have actually been just as ruthless as Abramovich.

Chelsea fans are also concerned about the soul of the club being ripped out through the sales of academy products such as Conor Gallagher and Trevoh Chalobah. Chelsea have already failed to tie Mason Mount down to a new contract, which resulted in him joining Man Utd.

READ MORE: FIVE players Chelsea must build around after Pochettino exit as manager is confirmed