Gary Neville backs Mauricio Pochettino to take charge of Chelsea

The Blues sacked boss Potter, who succeeded Thomas Tuchel last September, on Sunday night after a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa 24 hours earlier, a result that left them with just four wins in their last 19 Premier League games and sitting 11th in the table.

Former Manchester United and England defender Neville feels Chelsea would now make sense to bring in former Tottenham boss Pochettino.

Former Chelsea boss Graham Potter (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Chelsea sacked Graham on Sunday (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football: “All Chelsea and (owner Todd) Boehly say is that they have spent £600m and have spent, plus a centre-forward, over the next three years.

“If they name (Zinedine) Zidane, (Diego) Simeone, (Luis) Enrique, they are going to want another 300 million pounds because they will not like some of the players they have signed.

“They have to appoint a coach who is going to inherit and who likes the team they have. I think that man, because many of them are young, is Pochettino.”

Neville also compared the situation at Chelsea to the Football Manager computer game and “kids in a candy store”.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone, he (Potter) just didn’t look right. Right now, if you look at the property, he’s not feeling well, he’s not looking well, and usually when those two things happen, he’s not well. His record was not very good.

“What the owners talk about, in a long-term project… at the beginning of the season they had Tuchel, they brought in (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang, (Raheem) Sterling, (Kalidou) Koulibaly, more experienced players. They then switched and went to a long-term manager, brought in a lot of young players on eight-year deals and spent £600m.

“They’re kind of all over the store. I described them as chaotic at the beginning of the season, I’m not going to change my mind. It’s a bit like Football Manager, the kids in the candy store, and the fact is that they gave the manager too many sweets and he didn’t know which one to choose, and it was a case of being a bit of a mess at the end.”

Neville also said that he thought there would be “an element of relief” from Potter, adding: “He probably just thought ‘this group is angry’.

Gary Neville working for Sky Sports (Isaac Parkin/PA)
Gary Neville says Chelsea is “a bit all over the place” (Isaac Parkin/PA)

“I suspect Graham Potter went to (Chelsea co-sporting director Paul) Winstanley, who knew him from Brighton, and said ‘get me out of here, because it’s not good for me.’

“I don’t think Chelsea was enjoying Graham Potter, but I don’t think Graham Potter was enjoying Chelsea. And in some ways I almost feel like I should treat it like a little nightmare, like this season never happened in his lifetime, and wake up, (like) Bobby Ewing in Dallas.”

Neville’s fellow Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher believes Potter, previously in charge at Ostersunds, Swansea and then Brighton, was the wrong appointment for Chelsea “immediately”.

“You don’t fire Thomas Tuchel and go to Graham Potter. He should have stayed with Thomas Tuchel,” said Carragher, a former Liverpool and England defender.

“The appointment was immediately wrong. I’m not saying Graham Potter can’t work for a great club, it’s just not the right place. He is too ruthless in that club. When you don’t have a huge resume behind you, or big trophies, you have to start running.

“I’ve been very critical of Todd Boehly, but I think this is the first decision he’s got right.”


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