Premier League • England

Pochettino sack: Sky Sports man drops big Chelsea axe verdict as Boehly looks at iconic duo as replacements

Thomas Tuchel has been tipped to replace Mauricio Pochettino as Chelsea manager

Thomas Tuchel has been tipped to replace Mauricio Pochettino as Chelsea manager

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly is reportedly considering an astonishing U-turn to bring former boss Thomas Tuchel back to Stamford Bridge if the axe falls on Mauricio Pochettino this summer, while another big name former Blues icon is also in contention.

The highly-regarded Argentine coach was brought in by Boehly last summer to help steer Chelsea back towards the top echelons of the Premier League. After sacking Tuchel a matter of months into his reign, before appointing and then firing Graham Potter thereafter, it was left to Frank Lampard to try and steady the ship in an interim basis before Pochettino‘s appointment.

However, the former Tottenham and PSG boss, very much like Potter, has struggled to get a consistent tune out of his expensively assembled squad. With the Blues currently sat a worrying and distant 11th in the Premier League, Chelsea are sat nearer the bottom three than they are the top four at this moment in time.

Furthermore, Chelsea blew their big chance to get a trophy in the Cabinet last month when they squandered the chance to beat a much-weakened Liverpool side in the Carabao Cup final, with Virgil van Dijk heading home a late winner in extra time to devastate Pochettino and seeing Gary Neville famously branding them ‘blue billion pound bottle jobs’.

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Those comments angered Pochettino, who has not only squared up to Neville’s commets, but having also come out fighting to insist he still has the backing of Boehly and his fellow co-owner Behdad Eghbali.

“When Chelsea lose, it is always because of, because of, because of,” Pochettino said of the £1billion references. “No, the circumstances of Chelsea are the circumstances of Chelsea. They (the owners) wanted to build something different.”

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Pochettino continued: “It is only at the beginning. That’s why we cannot compare it with the past. Always it is Chelsea and it always appears ‘one billion’ and you cannot fight against that idea.”

On Liverpool and City seemingly avoiding the same scrutiny, Pochettino added: “Nothing negative. It’s like, if you win, you win, if you lose, you lose. Nothing happens. But for Chelsea, it is completely different because of the pressure of that (£1bn). For me, it is unfair, but in saying that, I accept the opinions.”

Asked about Neville’s comments, Pochettino added: “He is a Manchester United and just wanted Liverpool to lose.”

Nonetheless, and despite Pochettino’s claims he retains the backing of the Blues hierarchy, growing speculation claims Boehly and Co are considering a change of manager once again this summer amid suggestions they are massively underwhelmed by the job the 52-year-old has done this season.

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However, Sky Sports pundit Stephen Warnock is adamant that Pochettino needs to be given until the end of the season at least, especially since the Blues could still qualify for Europe with success in the FA Cup. Next up for them is a home date against Leicester City in the quarter-finals.

Of those names linked with a return to Stamford Bridge is Jose Mourinho and Warnock said: “For me, no, no. You have to move on from it. I think to go back for a third spell would be incredible for him from a nostalgic point of view, but I don’t think it’s the right fit.”

Tuchel touted for Chelsea return if Pochettino is sacked

Warnock added: “That period of history for Chelsea is gone, and you have to look forward. Would his style of management work on a squad like that? It might do. It might be something that galvanises the squad. But I still think you’ve to give Pochettino the opportunity.”

Despite their struggles, the Blues are currently only four points adrift of seventh, which will also likely secure European football next season.

All the same, the Daily Mail are convinced that Mourinho is in contention for a third spell at Stamford Bridge, where he remains a club icon having steered the club to three titles over his two different spells.

Writing that ‘Pochettino is facing a planned summer review, with European football emerging as a crucial factor in whether he continues in his role’, they also claim that both Mourinho and Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim, who we understand was interviewed for the job last summer prior to their appointment of Pochettino, are both under consideration.

However, reports in Germany now claim Tuchel is also open to a return to Stamford Bridge, feeling he has unfinished business in SW6.

He was brutally axed by Boehly in September 2022, despite having delivered the Champions League trophy just 15 months earlier, but having clashed with Boehly over his transfer plans, including a suggestion to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo.

And with Tuchel becoming a free agent again this summer upon his deaprture from Bayern Munich, SportBILD reports he is warming to the idea of returning if Boehly is willing to mend fences and hand out an olive branch to the German.

Tuchel has also been touted for a move to Barcelona, but it is thought the idea of returning to the Bridge is his first option.

Pochettino has a 45.95 win percentage record at Chelsea, while Tuchel had a 60% one. Mourinho, by contrast, managed 67.03% in his first spell and 58.82% the second time around.

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