“Drop your standards” – Mauricio Pochettino’s honest claim about his player’s mentalities

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has been really opening up a bit more on the problems at his football club right now.

As he prepares to face Manchester United at home tonight in the Premier League in a game that they really have to win if they want to stand a chance of gaining any kind of European qualification, Pochettino has been making some honest assessments about his current squad and how the players are lacking a strong mentality.

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IT’s actually really refreshing to finally see Pochettino speaking like this, in embargoed quotes picked up late last night by The Evening Standard.

He is questioning their mentalities and agrees that they are all being too much in their comfort zones and need to work harder overall if they want to succeed at a big club like Chelsea, where the pressure is always going to be so much more.

Asked whether he fears his players may be too much in their comfort zone to compete, Pochettino said: “Yes. I agree. It was one of the subjects we were talking about.

“I am going to explain what I explained to them. When I was at Espanyol, my first experience as a coach, I was at the training ground at 7 o’clock every morning. Then when I moved to Southampton: 6.30. Then to Tottenham: 7, sometimes 7.30. Then PSG: the same, 6 in the morning. Now, again: 6.45, 6.40. You can ask the guy at security, go on, ask.

“After 15 years of working your salary increases but that cannot put me in a very comfortable zone to say: ‘Now I arrive at 9 o’clock and leave at 2 o’clock’. I need to keep pushing myself, to keep pushing my team and my coaching staff, because we want to win and want to be competitive.

“That question is true. If now because I move from another club – in another club I was playing for less money, for less expectation, no one is expecting anything from me – but now I arrive here and people really believe that I’m so good but now I feel the pressure, what do I need to do?

“It is to arrive early, it is too work more. It is to run more, it is to be more focused, concentrate. It is not now arrive to Chelsea – [slaps hands] – and I am so good because people believe that I am so good but I do the minimum effort. No, it is more responsibility now. For us [the staff], we feel the responsibility. That is why we try to deliver in this job.

“What you say is important. Never be in a comfort zone. If you in a comfort zone, you drop your level, you drop your standards. I don’t say that happened here because too many other things happened. But that is one of the things that we are aware of. Maybe it is a mix [of different issues].”

The Chelsea boss was also keen to explain what it takes to build a winning mentality, having endured a frustrating first season in charge of Chelsea.

Pochettino said: “The demand to win is completely different. The energy is different. To prepare yourself to win every single game you need to have experience, you need to be mature, you need to know yourself and all the people around you.

“That is why we are in the process to build something. That is why we are not winning in the way we expect. It is because we still need to create this mentality that is going to help us. You need to demand more from yourself and yourself team-mate. And then be strong.

“The example is the last game. I agree with you in all the criticism you can make of myself or the rest of team. But you know why? You cannot draw a game like this if you are Chelsea. You cannot draw. That is how I describe the situation and how I understand the game.

“Football is about talent, about players with [a mix of] talent and the right mentality. Mentality means you have the capacity to deal with the pressure and express your talent without limitation.

“It’s about translating the same feelings you had as a child to when you play for Chelsea, with 50,000 people there and the cameras, for relegation or to win the title.

“That is the capacity you have to identify in a player. You have to have this (head) and this (heart).”

1 Comment

  1. Love what Poch said about mentality. Talent alone gets you nowhere special. It has to be paired with the right mentality—a commitment to keep pushing in training, just as on match day. Let’s hope we see the boys bring a killer’s mentality against Utd.

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