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Mauricio Pochettino says he can’t change how Spurs fans feel about him after joining Chelsea

By Ian McCullough

New Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he’s under no illusions about the pressure he faces to hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge.

The former Tottenham and PSG boss made his return to the Premier League last week and is the third permanent appointment by the Chelsea owners in 10 months with Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter shown the door last season in what was the club’s worst-ever Premier League campaign.

The Blues finished 12th with 44 points and a goal difference of minus-nine just two years after winning the Champions League and will not play European football for the first time since 2016-17 – the last time they won the title.

Potchettino, who was sacked by PSG last year, said he doesn’t expect any patience from the fans or the Chelsea board as the Blues look to put a miserable 2022-23 campaign behind them.

“In football, it is difficult to wait, at Chelsea you need to deliver from day one,” Pochettino said.

“We are working now in the training ground and it’s about delivering from now, to give our best.

“Football is about today or yesterday. We cannot talk long term.

“We cannot tell people we need six months, I think it is not good. We are going to have a squad of players who can deliver.

“I don’t want to make excuses to the players to say first of all we need time to rebuild, we need time to work, we need, we need, we need.

“No excuses and we start to work hard, to manage and drive the way that we want.

“The competition doesn’t wait for anyone and now we are going to start again against Liverpool in the first game to be ready to win, and if not we are going to struggle for sure.”

The 51-year-old said his time in the French capital has made him a better coach but said he hopes the Spurs fans who used to worship him before he was shown the door in 2019 by Daniel Levy will still hold him in high regard.

However, he said winning over the Chelsea fans is more important than his legacy in north London and refused to say if there was any contact from Levy about returning to Spurs before Ange Postecoglou’s appointment.

“I don’t want to say anything because all that talk is going to take us back,” he said.

“What I can say is that I am so proud of my past there. Nobody is going to change the story of when we were there together for nearly six years.

“I am a much better coach, we are much better coaching staff because we learn a lot about yourself in Paris and I think in more than football.

“We learnt a lot about ourselves. It was an amazing experience and I hope we can give Chelsea all our experience and knowledge to put in the benefit of Chelsea FC.

“I don’t believe that the (Spurs) fans will change, I think.

“But, what can they do? Nothing. For me now it is about being focused on trying to do my job here and build a very good relationship with the fans here and of course what can I say or do if that happens?

“It’s up to them to keep or not the feelings they were feeling in the past.

“My feeling is that I am really happy to be here. I would say over the moon because I am back in England. This is a massive challenge.”

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