Zola finally reveals Chelsea major problem that could cost Pochettino his managerial position

Zola finally reveals Chelsea major problem that could cost Pochettino his managerial position

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has warned Mauricio Pochettino that striking the right balance of experience and youth in the dressing room will be crucial to achieving success at Stamford Bridge. The former Tottenham Hotspur boss arrived last summer under the weight of great expectations, and the Blues are ambling towards a second consecutive bottom-half finish.

Pochettino did at least lead Chelsea to the Carabao Cup final back in February. Once there, however, their inexperience came to the fore as the Argentinean admitted many of his younger players ‘did not sleep’ the night before Liverpool prevailed.

Todd Boehly has overseen a transfer policy built on exclusively signing players under the age of 25. Huge sums have been splashed on some of the world’s most promising youngsters, but it is yet to bring success on the pitch.

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Zola, who scored 80 goals in 312 games for Chelsea, is not surprised. Speaking to William Hill, as quoted by the Express, he said: “They used to have a core team of four or five players with the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, Branislav Ivanovic among a couple of others, and Chelsea would build their team around those players.

“Those players had the knowledge, the experience, the character and the personality which all combined with the know-how of how to be a successful team and be winners.

“Those players were the ones to spread those fundamental traits to the new players within the team, as well as many of the players who came up through the ranks in the youth team. Because they were in that environment with those core players, they could develop those attributes and abilities.”

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Before his team had even played a match last summer, Pochettino was asking for ‘experienced’ players. But instead, Chelsea signed Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia and Cole Palmer – all of whom are 22 or younger.

Zola added: “I have no doubt that Chelsea haven’t managed to strike the balance between bringing in young players with potential and having a big enough base of experienced, senior players. Some of the players that they had who they let go were important, I think they had that know-how and could have stayed longer because they needed to transfer that knowledge to the young ones.”

It’s not yet known if Pochettino will get the chance to fix things next season, as Boehly and Clearlake Capital will decide his future this summer. A respectable seventh-place finish is still possible, and Chelsea will play Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals next month.

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