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Pochettino looking to achieve ‘balance’ in Chelsea project for special Tottenham trip

Pre-match thoughts from the ex-Spurs manager

Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers - Carabao Cup Fourth Round Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino ingratiated himself to the Chelsea faithful from minute one by acknowledging our (modern) history of winning and making it clear that we want to be, need to be back at those levels sooner rather than later.

Obviously, that hasn’t happened yet, though it’s been only four months and these sort of things don’t happen instantaneously. But we are making some progress in this boldly expensive project of ours. Perhaps not at the pace we would ideally like, thanks to a few precipitously large steps back at times, but generally moving in the right direction both in terms of results and play on the pitch.

Still, the idea of going to New Three Point Lane as the clear underdogs is a very strange one, especially when we consider that the man leading us is a veritable Spurs managerial legend, responsible for their own greatest night in their (modern) history — and Spurs themselves are sitting two points clear at the top of the table having made one of the best starts in Premier League history.

For Pochettino himself, who places great emphasis and importance on things like family and personal connections, it will be a special return to Tottenham. In fact, it will be his first time back in their stadium, mirroring similar homecomings at the Bridge for the likes of Antonio Conte and José Mourinho, just to name two of the more recent examples. These things happen; we are all professionals after all.

“Coming back after four years to a place we have amazing memories and create amazing memories together, I think it is special. I cannot lie. [...] If you remember I say clubs I’ll never manage was Arsenal because I considered them the worst enemy of Tottenham and Barcelona because of Espanyol. It’s strange to come back because always the feeling after four years, it’s going to be, for me, a happy day but that is life and we need to move on. We are professional but at the same time we are human.

“I was talking with Adrian (Chelsea press officer), we were talking about the four months we are working together and creating some links and maybe we spend five or six years together, if after I move or if I’m sacked why are we going to forget our relationship? Sometimes up and down, good and bad but we cannot forget. That is how we build our history.”

Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers - Carabao Cup Fourth Round Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

There’s that tricky word again, history. The History of the Tottenham and The History of the Chelsea: if we graph them as lines, they have now crossed over. Hopefully that’s a situation that won’t linger for too long.

“They are doing a fantastic job. Ange and the other coaches, they are doing a fantastic job. Very good players, very good team and you can feel they can be a contender. It is early in the season but they are showing the quality to be a contender.”

“We are in a different project. All the history of Chelsea is to win big things [but] now we are in a different situation where we are building something for the future. Maybe we struggle a little bit in the beginning, because of details we are not managing well. That is why we lose too many points, maybe we deserve more but because we are so young like a team, maybe we are not managing the situation. No doubt in the future that Chelsea will be in the position they deserve to be because of their history.”

Despite the setbacks, Pochettino has maintained steadfast belief and confidence in these aims, in this long-term project. In a sense, he of course has to do that — if he himself doesn’t believe in his own project, we’re already [FUNNED].

But he’s also putting in place solid foundations, and as long as we keep building steadily, we should arrive at the finished product eventually.

“You can work every day and spend a lot of time. You can work but improving is about your confidence and your feelings. Sometimes players need time time to recover their trust. Not because you practice more. You need to have the right attititude and you need to be able to settle yourself, good feelings, the will to do. You can practice and practice and it’s the same but if before if your mind is in the right place you can prove. At the moment we are fighting with this between recovering the trust in our offensive players.

“The most important is to get a good balance. You can feel we are improving, progressing, it is part of the process, part of the project, it is normal when you have young players who arrive at a club like Chelsea and the demand is high from the beginning. The demand and the competition doesn’t wait for you. You need to put all the details, come from a differnet league, a young guy and put pressure on you. That is why it is about the process am not worried, I am not concerned about that because we know what we are doing and we are going to perform and translate our performances into good results.”

-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Football.London

Some of our best performances this season have come against the best opposition, so here’s to translating that into a good result for once as well.

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