It was all sunshine and rainbows and fluffy marshmallows in Mauricio Pochettino’s first interview as Chelsea head coach, conducted with Chelsea TV, but in his first press conference with the general football media sharks, he had to navigate a bit more carefully lest he leave some blood in the water.
Unsurprisingly, he navigated it with the aplomb of a top level manager, saying all the right things once again, projecting confidence, trust, belief, and ambition.
It’s a fairly lengthy press conference, nearly 30 minutes, but it is well worth your time.
Perhaps the strongest theme running through it all was the idea that the past is the past — whether it be his own (i.e. the Spurs connection) or the club’s (all the trophies, culture of winning, etc) — and that our focus is fully on the here and now and what we can build together. It’s a simple idea, even a necessary one. But it’s one that we’re clearly looking to manifest.
Our past informs the present, but does not define our future. We have to work for that future.
“Chelsea’s men and women have had the greatest history and won many, many trophies. It is a great team and I am very happy to be here. I am very proud of my past, and I don’t want to talk in a different way but I need to look forward and concentrate on what people expect from me in this football club. I hope to build a very special relationship with everyone.
“[We] are going to settle everything for the next few weeks to compete and be right in our decisions, and to create a very competitive team because the Premier League is very tough. What I found from Monday is a club with very, very good people, good attitudes and I am so happy. So far, so good. I hope to keep this feeling for the rest of the season.
“[...] I am not going to talk about the past. The past is the past. I only want to be focused. People at Chelsea’s training ground, Stamford Bridge and our fans need to be positive and try to really believe that all together we can create a very good job. [...] In football, you need to move on quick. If not, you are dead. [...] There’s no point in looking back about what went on.”
“[...] My target is to win, my aim is to win. If you are in a club like Chelsea, you can’t talk about doing a nice job and to play well. Yes, of course, I can do a good job, play well and in our style and culture but, of course, to win. If you don’t win in a club like Chelsea, for sure, you are going to suffer. I don’t want to make excuses or talk about the past. It is only to win with the players that we have.
“We want to start to believe from day one, we started to work from Monday and we want to be the best and competitive. For that, we have to work hard, work the players really, really hard and translate this energy to our fans who can help us win the games. That’s so important, to create that togetherness because the competition here in the Premier League is really, really tough. A lot of teams want the same as us. When we are altogether we can be close to winning again.
“[...] In football there is no patience. In football it is difficult to wait and when you are in Chelsea, I believe it is not about asking for time, you need to deliver from day one. [...] Football is about today, yesterday. You cannot talk too much long term. We cannot tell people we need six months to create because it seems not good. We need to create the belief from the beginning and I think we have players and I think we are going to have squad that can deliver in the short, and give what we expect and from day one we need to think to win. Then if we don’t win, maybe if little by little we need more time to develop our idea, maybe it is possible. From the beginning we need to think of the first game of the Premier League, we need to beat Liverpool.”
That’s my manager!