Mauricio Pochettino shares Chelsea ‘comfort zone’ fear in damning mentality assessment as he urges youngsters to take ‘more responsibility

Mauricio Pochettino has shared his fears that Chelsea players are falling into a “comfort zone”, as he urged them to take “more responsibility”.


Following a disappointing 2-2 draw against a 10-man Burnley last weekend, Pochettino addressed questions about his team’s mindset, particularly in light of their upcoming prestige clash against Manchester United. He acknowledged the issue of players becoming too comfortable and emphasised the need for continuous effort and ambition in pursuit of success.

When asked about their comfort zone fears, Pochettino replied: “Yes. I agree. It was one of the subjects we were talking about. I am going to explain what I explained to the players.”

Reflecting on his own work ethic throughout his managerial career, Pochettino elaborated: “When I was at Espanyol, I was at the training ground at seven o’clock every morning. Then when I moved to Southampton: 6.30. Then to Tottenham: seven, sometimes 7.30. Then PSG: the same, six in the morning. Now, [at Chelsea]: 6.45, 6.40.

“After 15 years of working, your salary increases, [as does] your bank account. But that cannot put me in a very comfortable zone to say, ‘Now I arrive at nine o’clock and leave at two o’clock’. I need to keep pushing myself, to keep pushing my team and my coaching staff, because we want to win and want to be competitive.

“If I was playing for less money in another club, for less expectation, no one is expecting anything from me – but now I arrive here and people really believe that I’m so good and now I feel the pressure, what do I need to do? It is to arrive early, it is to work more. It is to run more, it is to be more focused; and concentrate.

It is not now to arrive at Chelsea – [slaps hands] – and I am so good because people believe that I am so good, but I make the minimum effort. No, it is more responsibility now. For us, we feel the responsibility.

“Never be in a comfort zone. If you are in a comfort zone, you drop your level, you drop your standards. I don’t say that happened here because too many other things happened. But that is one of the things that we are aware of. Maybe it is a mix. Like when you mix this a little bit, a small percentage, easy life, easy that… then when you put it all together it is not easy.”

Pochettino was also critical about most of the youngsters in his squad and insisted that the players should be evaluated based on their current performances and not on their “potential.”

“We have players here that can be really good, top players,” Pochettino said. “But now it’s the combination of things that need to happen, to see if [Cole] Palmer can be there [raises his hand] or another player can be there. It’s the combination of mentality, heart and talent.

“If not, we go to our mature players, between 26 and 34, that we already know can perform. We have to understand: what does it mean, potential? Jesus? Potential means to guess. ‘I have potential’ – what does it mean? Potential what? We need to assess the players we have today and we can help them evolve, but to what level? Potential teams, potential players, potential coaches. Potential, potential, potential. But we need to win today, no?”

Malo Gusto Chelsea 2023-24

Pochettino’s comments come amidst a period of mixed results for Chelsea, with only two wins in their last five Premier League fixtures. As they prepare to face the Red Devils. The manager’s call for renewed focus and determination underscores the sense of emergency in the Blues’ dressing room as they aspire to climb up the ladder from the bottom half of the table.


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