Sterling in the Spotlight: Mauricio Pochettino’s Blueprint for Chelsea Success
Pochettino’s Vision for Sterling
The latest chapter in Raheem Sterling’s career finds him under the watchful eye of Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino. Despite Sterling’s challenging initial tenure with the club, Pochettino has expressed unwavering confidence in harnessing the forward’s potential, as reported by BBC Sport.
Pochettino revealed his intentions, stating:
“I think he’s an important player for us. He’s in our plan. He can provide to the team many different things. We are confident that we can get the best from him to help the team to achieve what we want.”
The previous season was a tumultuous period for Chelsea. The London club witnessed the departures of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, and under interim boss Frank Lampard, they finished 12th, marking their lowest league standing in over 25 years.
Assessing Sterling’s Initial Struggles
Amidst this turbulent backdrop, Sterling, following a £50 million transfer from Manchester City, netted a mere six league goals. As Pochettino embarks on his two-year tenure at Chelsea, the Argentine tactician will seek to revive Sterling’s form.
As Sterling’s performance waned, England manager Gareth Southgate excluded the forward from the national squad named in May, citing that Sterling did not feel he was “operating at the level he needs”.
The 28-year-old sought to rectify his performance by adjusting his diet to overcome a muscle injury and boost energy levels. Ironically, this led to an increase in muscle mass, prompting him to seek the guidance of a nutritionist. Sterling noted, “I think I was probably carrying a bit of extra weight, I had a few hamstring problems and probably towards the end of the season the hamstring was playing up again.”
Chelsea’s Summer of Change
This summer has seen a significant transformation at Stamford Bridge, with the departure of key players including Kai Havertz, Mateo Kovacic, and Mason Mount to Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United respectively. The exodus continued with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic joining AC Milan and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta moving to Atletico Madrid on a free transfer.
In a bid to fill the void, Chelsea brought in Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig, Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal, and promising young Brazilian winger Angelo Gabriel from Santos. The Blues also persist in their pursuit of Brighton’s Moises Caicedo, despite two rejected bids.
New Captain on the Horizon
As the Blues march towards the new Premier League season, Pochettino’s preparations include the crucial task of naming a new captain. He plans to assess his squad’s dynamics and make the decision closer to Chelsea’s inaugural Premier League match against Liverpool on Sunday, 13 August.
“It’s a time to assess everyone and see what is going on and to see who will be in the squad. It is not really important. For some people, yes. Now it is important to assess and be right in the decision,” the Chelsea manager said.