Reported Chelsea target Thomas Frank is in no rush to leave Brentford, saying "the grass is not always greener" for managers who choose to jump ship.

Chelsea are hunting their fourth permanent boss under the Todd Boehly regime, having surprisingly parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino by mutual consent on Tuesday.  

With the Blues reportedly looking for a dynamic young coach capable of working within their existing set-up, Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna and Bees boss Frank have been touted as possible successors.

Brentford's finish of 16th in 2023-24 was their worst since Frank led them to the Premier League in 2021, but they remained comfortably clear of the drop zone despite battling a lengthy injury list and seeing Ivan Toney suspended for the first half of the season.

Across their three seasons in the Premier League, Brentford rank ninth for expected goals (xG) per 90 minutes (1.44) and eighth for expected goals against (xGA) per 90 (1.38).

While Frank has refused to rule out a move after almost six years as Brentford's head coach, he is not actively searching for a new job.  

"I will probably be on that touchline on August 17," Frank told The Athletic. "I think that will happen. I'm happy here. I've said it many times and I mean it. 

"It's close to the perfect football life. I'm not in any rush or searching to do something else but I also think I've learned in life I'm open for what can happen.

"I can see myself being here for a long period. Can I stay here for seven more years? I don't know and that's not that I don’t love Brentford, it's just, do I want to try something different? 

"I'm very aware the grass is not always greener in the garden next door, even if it looks like it. You get in there, take a closer look and see there are a lot of weeds in the grass."

Brentford have already seen set-piece coach Bernardo Cueva agree to join Chelsea, and reports have suggested the Blues' hierarchy were unimpressed with how Pochettino's staff dealt with dead balls.

Brentford ranked second for xG from set-pieces in the Premier League this season (15.7) and allowed opponents the third lowest xGA figure from such situations (8.6), behind only Arsenal and Manchester City.

Nicolas Jackson appeared to question Chelsea's decision to part company with Mauricio Pochettino as Cole Palmer paid thanks to the Argentine.

On Tuesday, Chelsea announced Pochettino had left the club by mutual consent after just one season in charge, which ended in a sixth-place Premier League finish.

Several pundits expressed shock at the decision, after an upturn saw Chelsea recover from a poor start to the season to clinch European qualification.  

Only four teams – Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle United – had a better expected goals (xG) figure than Chelsea (75.3) in the Premier League in 2023-24, while only three – City, Liverpool and Arsenal – had more shots on target than the Blues (215).

From March 11 onwards, Chelsea's return of 27 points was only bettered by eventual champions Manchester City, who took 28 in that span.

A number of Chelsea players appeared to be surprised by Pochettino's exit when reacting on social media, most notably Jackson.

Alongside an image of himself alongside Pochettino, Jackson wrote on Instagram: "Love you coach. Wish we could stay together more.

"But may God continue to bless you and your family. Thanks for the advice and support, you're a true lion and a fighter, wish you all the best."

Leading goalscorer Palmer, meanwhile, paid a heartfelt tribute to Pochettino in an Instagram post of his own.

"Gaffer, thank you for everything you have done for me and making my dreams come true," the England international wrote. "All the best."

Former Blues captain John Terry, meanwhile, said he was "gutted" to see Pochettino depart.

Posting to his Instagram story, Terry added: "I just hope we don't sign or sell any players until we get a manager in."

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna and Brentford's Thomas Frank have been touted as possible successors, with co-owner Todd Boehly reportedly looking to hire a progressive young coach to work within Chelsea's existing structure. 

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is blocking out speculation linking him with the vacant posts at Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion.

McKenna has earned plaudits after leading Ipswich to back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, ending the Tractor Boys' 22-year exile from the top flight.

His outstanding work has led to suggestions he is a target for other clubs, with Brighton and Hove Albion being linked with a move after Roberto De Zerbi left the club.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, reports suggested he was a possible contender to take over at Chelsea after Mauricio Pochettino surprisingly left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent.

McKenna saw off competition from Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta, Sean Dyche, Unai Emery and John Mousinho to win the League Managers Association's Manager of the Year award on Tuesday, and his focus is simply on celebrating Ipswich's achievements.

"When you do well as a manager, or as a player, there's always going to be speculation," McKenna said at Tuesday's awards ceremony.

"What we've achieved is no ordinary thing so of course there's going to be speculation. That's not where my focus is, to be honest.

"It's been a wonderful couple of years and tonight is about celebrating that. Everyone's looking forward to next season and I know the club's going to be in a really good place."

McKenna has also been tentatively linked with a return to Manchester United, where he spent five years as a coach with the academy and the first team, as Erik ten Hag's position continues to be questioned.

Former Red Devils boss Alex Ferguson presented McKenna with his award on Tuesday, which he described as "one of the most humbling and proudest moments" of his life. 

"It's the best thing in the world and I've had good experience as a first-team coach, but to be a manager in the Premier League and go up against great managers is going to be a great challenge and something I can't wait for," he added.

Mauricio Pochettino will leave Chelsea by mutual consent after one season in charge, the club announced on Tuesday.

Despite a poor start to the season, Pochettino led Chelsea to a sixth-place finish, confirming a European place - an improvement on their 12th-place finish in 2022-23.

He also led them to the EFL Cup final and the semi-final of the FA Cup.

Speculation surrounded Pochettino's position during the latter stages of the Premier League campaign, though he remained tight-lipped about his future.

The Argentinian had one year left on his contract but now leaves the club with immediate effect.

In a club statement, Pochettino said: "Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and Sporting Directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club's history.

"The club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come."

Sporting Directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: "On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season.

"He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time, and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career."

 

Mauricio Pochettino feels continuity will be key for Chelsea ahead of his second season in charge, ruling out the prospect of another clear-out at Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea clinched European qualification on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday, a 2-1 win over Bournemouth ensuring they beat Newcastle United and Manchester United to sixth place.

The Blues finished the campaign with five straight victories, the first time they have achieved that feat since doing so in March 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

A positive end to Pochettino's debut campaign has quietened talk of his job being under threat, and he wants to see evolution rather than revolution ahead of 2024-25.

"Does the club need new signings? Always, you can improve," Pochettino said after Sunday's victory.

"They are going to be much better next season because they will have one year of experience, a tough experience. 

"That is the advantage of being solid and consistent and not making too many changes.

"Next season, if we keep 80 to 85 per cent of the squad, for sure it is a big step forward because it is about having continuity in the ideas and the knowledge between them. That is important for the club.

"That is a club decision. Like it was from the beginning, we [the coaching staff] are going to be there to help and if not, we are going to do our job."

Chelsea only lost one of their final 15 matches of the Premier League season (nine wins, five draws), with that defeat coming by a 5-0 scoreline at Arsenal in April.

Only Manchester City, Arsenal (16 each) and Liverpool (12) won more Premier League games than Chelsea's 10 between the turn of the year and the end of the campaign, with their total of 43 goals in that time ranking them fifth among all teams in the division. 

Chelsea's overall tally of 77 goals in 2023-24 was their third-most in a Premier League season, behind only their title-winning campaigns of 2009-10 (103) and 2016-17 (85).

Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea finishing in the European spots is "the first step" to restoring the club back to its former glories.

A 2-1 win over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in the final game of the campaign ensured that Chelsea would be playing European football next season with a sixth-placed finish.

The Blues are guaranteed at least a Europa Conference League spot. However, should Manchester City beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final next Saturday, Chelsea will play in the Europa League instead.

Pochettino feels this is just the beginning as the club looks to return to the upper echelons of European football.

"For the history of Chelsea, it is hard to celebrate," Pochettino told Sky Sports. "But it is the first step to achieve bigger things after.

"We are really close. Season by season it is about improving. We know how we need to compete next season. We have a young squad but with more experience in the Premier League now."

Chelsea lost just one of their last 15 Premier League games of the season, winning the last five as they made a late charge into the European places.

Pochettino is proud of how his team performed at the conclusion of the campaign, saying: "We played against a team [Bournemouth] in a very good run and who also had the whole week to prepare.

"I think the way we played and created chances, we had the chances to score more goals.

"I am so happy with the run in the last part of the season. Credit to the players, and that is how we want to compete."

There has been much discussion over Pochettino's future, with the former Tottenham boss' job reportedly at risk despite the strong end to the season.

When asked about his future at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino replied: "That is a question for the owners and the sporting director."

Erling Haaland has won the Premier League Golden Boot for a second straight season.

Manchester City striker Haaland finished with 27 goals from 31 appearances this season, finishing five goals ahead of Chelsea attacking midfielder Cole Palmer, who emerged as a surprise contender after leaving the Etihad Stadium for Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

Haaland scored a single-season record 36 goals in his debut year in England and while he did not match those numbers this time around, he ultimately prevailed with a comprehensive five-goal advantage over Palmer.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak was in third place with 21 goals. There was a three-way tie for fourth place on 19 goals between Dominic Solanke, Phil Foden and Ollie Watkins.

Mohamed Salah (18 goals) and Son Heung-min (17) were also prominent high finishers, with Bukayo Saka and Jarrod Bowen joined on 16 by Jean-Philippe Mateta on the final day of the season when he netted a hat-trick in Crystal Palace's 5-0 win over Aston Villa.

While Haaland claims award glory, it was Foden (two) and Rodri who scored the goals as Man City beat West Ham 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to secure a historic fourth successive Premier League trophy.

But Haaland's goals had been crucial to getting City into a title-winning position.

The 23-year-old started the season with a bang, scoring eight goals in his first six top-flight appearances, including a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Fulham in early September.

While he battled an injury and a brief mid-season dip in form, doubles against Manchester United and Chelsea kept the Norway forward in contention.

And Haaland ultimately pulled away from his Golden Boot rivals in the closing stages of the campaign.

The striker scored four times in the 5-1 home win over Wolves this month to all but end the contest even before his pivotal double against Tottenham on Tuesday put Man City on the brink of title glory.

Haaland matches the likes of Harry Kane, Salah and Robin van Persie as players to win the Golden Boot in consecutive seasons.

Thierry Henry has won the most Golden Boot crowns with four, while Kane, Salah and Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer all have three apiece, with Haaland now just one behind that group.

The Playmaker of the Season award for the most Premier League assists went to Aston Villa striker Watkins.

As well as scoring his 19 goals, Watkins racked up 13 assists in a fine individual season, helping Villa to Champions League qualification.

He is the first Aston Villa player to win the award since it began in the 2017-18 season.

Watkins finished two assists ahead of Palmer (11), who comes second in both awards, while Kevin De Bruyne was part of a large group in a tie for third with 10 assists.

Man City's De Bruyne is a three-time winner and came close to topping the creative standings again despite missing much of the season through injury.

The Golden Glove winner is Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya, who finished with a final tally of 16 clean sheets.

He is the Gunners’ first winner of the award since Petr Cech also kept 16 clean sheets for the Gunners in the 2015-16 season. Wojciech Szczęsny is another former Arsenal winner.

Everton keeper Jordan Pickford was second to Raya with 13 shutouts.

Those two shot-stoppers did battle on the final day, as Arsenal won 2-1 against Everton, but it was not enough to stop the celebrations for Haaland and City.

Goals from Moises Caicedo and Raheem Sterling secured a 2-1 victory for Chelsea over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, ensuring the Blues will play European football next season.

Chelsea headed into the final game of the campaign on Sunday knowing a win would secure at least a Europa Conference League spot, and Caicedo put them on course for three points in the first half with a stunning long-range finish.

Sterling then fired home after the interval to put Mauricio Pochettino's men firmly into the ascendancy, and though a Benoit Badiashile own-goal gave the Cherries hope, Chelsea saw out the victory.

The win means the hosts finish the campaign in sixth, and if Manchester City beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final next weekend, Chelsea will play in the Europa League next season.

The hosts started brightly with Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer both going close early, while Antoine Semenyo tested Djordje Petrovic at the other end with a dipping effort.

Caicedo put Chelsea ahead in spectacular fashion, seizing upon Neto's loose clearance before sending an audacious lob into the back of the net from close to the halfway line.

The hosts then made it 2-0 moments into the second half, Sterling driving into the box before firing past Neto from a tight angle.

That two-goal advantage lasted less than two minutes, though, as Enes Unal brought down a cross from the left and lashed goalwards, leading to Badiashile turning into the back of his own net.

Bournemouth pressed for a leveller late on and nearly found one when Dominic Solanke failed to hit the target in injury time, but the hosts held on to confirm they'll be playing European football next term.

Chelsea finally flourishing

It has been another tumultuous campaign at Stamford Bridge, and doubts are lingering over whether Pochettino will be in charge come the start of next term, but Chelsea's strong form to end the season has certainly been impressive.

Pochettino finally seems to be getting the best out of his talented but young squad, with the win over Bournemouth making it five straight Premier League victories, the first time they have managed that since 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

One of those Blues players who has enjoyed their football of late is Caicedo, and his goal here was the perfect reminder of what a talent he is. The first-half strike was the furthest scored in a Premier League game since Wayne Rooney for Everton in November 2017 (57.7 yards v West Ham).

Iraola impresses in first season

Bournemouth may have finished the season with three straight defeats, but the Cherries have still finished 12th in Andoni Iraola's first season since joining from Rayo Vallecano.

It looked like Iraola's time in charge at the Vitality Stadium could be brief as Bournemouth failed to win any of their first nine Premier League games of the season.

But it's been quite the turnaround from the Cherries, who will end the season 22 points above the relegation zone having won 13 Premier League games, their joint-most in a single campaign, and Bournemouth fans will be looking to the future with optimism.

The departing Thiago Silva warned Chelsea's players to set their egos aside, or their "situation will hardly change" next season.

Silva, who will return to hometown club Fluminense in the close season, is gearing up for his final appearance for the Blues after four years at Stamford Bridge, where they host Bournemouth on the final day of the 2023-24 campaign.

A draw would be enough for sixth-place Chelsea to secure a return to European football next season, while they could still overtake Tottenham in fifth with a win and Spurs losing to bottom side Sheffield United.

But despite a positive end to the campaign, during which they have won four successive games and lost just one of their last 14, Mauricio Pochettino's side are a whopping 28 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Silva believes the club deserves better, having spent over £400 million on no fewer than 13 players over the past year, and has urged the squad to prioritise teamwork over their personal ambitions next term.

"I hope [the players] understand that everything they did to get to Chelsea has to be worth it," he told Sky Sports. "Because the season we're having is not worthy of Chelsea. I think they need to do more next year.

"These boys need to be aware that Chelsea has to fight for [for trophies] in the top positions. If we take a little of our ego and put it in favour of the team, I think it will work. If we don't do that, the situation will hardly change, unfortunately."

Finishing fifth in the Premier League would be an "amazing" end to the season for Chelsea, so says Mauricio Pochettino.

Chelsea have reeled off five straight wins to put themselves in pole position to clinch a European spot.

The Blues sit sixth ahead of facing Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. If they win and Tottenham lose to Sheffield United, then they will finish fifth.

However, should Chelsea lose, then they will be overtaken by Newcastle United, should the Magpies beat Brentford.

"It's really important for us to finish in the way we are doing now, with the confidence and the way we are playing in the last few months," Pochettino said.

"It's really important for the team, players, club to achieve one of the objectives, to play in Europe next season.

"If we end up fifth, it'll be amazing for us. We need to do our job then see what's going on.

"It's going to be a really tough game because Bournemouth are doing so well. Andoni Iraola is doing a good job but most important is to finish well and see if we have the chance to get the place [in Europe]."

Bournemouth boss Iraola has been nominated for the Premier League's Manager of the Season award, and this week penned a contract extension.

"I think it was quite fast and quite easy," Iraola said when reflecting on the decision to extend his terms.

"We started talking and with managers I don't feel it's so important, a contract, as with players. In the end, managers have to perform well, you have to keep winning games.

"Otherwise you are going to be in trouble, it doesn't matter the contract you have.

"I think it is more a matter of renewing the confidence. It has been our first season together.

"I am happy that everyone is in a good place and we can continue working together."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chelsea - Cole Palmer

Palmer has scored 14 goals in his last nine Premier League home games for Chelsea. Overall he has scored 16 times at Stamford Bridge this term, with no player ever netting more home goals for the Blues in a single campaign.

Bournemouth - Dominic Solanke

Solanke has scored the most goals (19), the most home goals (10) and the joint-most away goals (nine) of any Bournemouth player in a single Premier League campaign.

MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA WIN

Bournemouth’s 13 wins in the Premier League this term is their joint-most in a single season (level with 2018-19), while as it stands their 15 defeats is their fewest across a single top-flight campaign.

Since the turn of the year, only the Premier League’s top-three teams have picked up more points than Chelsea (38 – W11 D5 L3). They are looking to win five games in a row for the first time since doing so between January and March 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea have won nine of their last 11 Premier League home games (D1 L1), having won just one of their previous 14 at Stamford Bridge beforehand. The Blues have won their last three by an aggregate score of 13-0, last winning more in a row at home without conceding between November and January in 2014-15 (five).

The Blues are unbeaten in four Premier League games against Bournemouth (W2 D2), having lost three of their four against them before this (W1).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Chelsea - 59.5%

Bournemouth - 16.6%

Draw - 23.9%

Cole Palmer says the Chelsea players want to fight for Mauricio Pochettino, and credits him for Chelsea’s late challenge for a European spot this season.

There has been speculation in recent weeks that Pochettino may not remain Chelsea manager after the end of the season, despite their strong run of form. 

Chelsea moved sixth in the Premier League table after holding on to beat Brighton 2-1 on Wednesday with 10 men after Reece James’ late sending-off thanks to goals from Palmer and Christopher Nkunku.

Palmer has proven instrumental for Chelsea in his debut season, scoring 22 goals in the league, but the youngster was quick to move the focus to Pochettino’s work.

"For it to be in our hands to get sixth place is a big thing for us," Palmer told BBC Sport.

"Chelsea are a big club and everyone wants to finish higher than sixth, but you have to look at where we were at the start of the season.

"All credit to the manager. All the players love the manager and want to fight for him."

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League matches, winning each of the last four, meaning they only need to avoid defeat against Bournemouth on Sunday to claim a top-six finish.

Pochettino was full of praise for how his side saw out the win against Brighton, saying: "So happy for the players, they deserve the full credit for the way that we worked, our approach to the game and the way we tried to apply all of the work we were doing on the training ground.

"I am proud. To face a team like Brighton is always difficult here. We are so happy because the three points mean we are closer to achieving what we want."

Chelsea maintained their European charge with a fourth successive win on Wednesday, overcoming Brighton by a 2-1 scoreline at the Amex Stadium. 

Cole Palmer’s excellent header – his 22nd Premier League goal of a fine debut campaign – put the Blues ahead after they had been denied an early penalty by a VAR review.

Both sides enjoyed plenty of chances with Pascal Gross going particularly close for Brighton, but Christopher Nkunku pounced to give Chelsea breathing room in the second half. 

Chelsea captain Reece James was sent off for a petulant kick on Joao Pedro late on and Danny Welbeck halved the arrears in stoppage time, but the visitors held on to ensure a top-seven finish remains in their hands going into the final day. 

Chelsea thought they had an early chance to score from the spot as Facundo Buonanotte's challenge on Marc Cucurella was penalised, but the penalty award was overturned after a VAR review.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side continued to push for the opener as Malo Gusto's deflected effort was tipped over by Bart Verbruggen, and they eventually broke through in the 34th minute.

Cucurella burst down the left-hand side before floating a cross into the box, and Palmer arrived to send a looping header over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Nicolas Jackson had an excellent chance to double Chelsea’s lead deep into first-half stoppage time, but he failed to convert Palmer’s cross on the volley.

Substitute Nkunku then went close shortly after the break, but his driven effort from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.

The Seagulls should have equalised in the 57th minute as Tariq Lamptey’s dipping cross found Gross totally unmarked, but he somehow put his shot wide from inside the six-yard box.

Pochettino's men punished that miss seven minutes later, with Gusto cutting back for Nkunku to pick out the bottom corner with his first-time finish.

James was sent off after a VAR review as stoppage time loomed, having appeared to kick out at Pedro. The Seagulls pilled on the pressure from there as Adingra struck the post on the volley before Welbeck poked home a Pedro delivery, but Chelsea ultimately held firm.

Brighton’s conceding first curse

Brighton have now failed to win in their last 11 matches when conceding the opening goal in the Premier League, in a run which dates back to a victory over Brentford on December 6.

The Seagulls had opportunities to equalise after Palmer’s first-half header, but Nkunku’s goal gave them a mountain to climb, one they were unable to scale even with a one-man advantage. 

A top-half finish is now the limit of Brighton's ambitions. They stay 10th, and a win over Manchester United on the final day will ensure they avoid dropping into the bottom half.

Chelsea’s impressive 2024 continues

Pochettino has started to turn things around since the start of 2024, with Chelsea securing 32 points in the Premier League since the start of January.  

The contributions of Palmer have certainly helped the Argentine, with the young attacker scoring the opening goal in nine league games this season. 

Chelsea supporters wouldn’t have been expecting a late push for the European places, but with the Blues sitting sixth going to the final day, qualification is in their hands. 

Mauricio Pochettino believes it would be "amazing" for Chelsea to secure European qualification ahead of their trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

After replacing Graham Potter in the Stamford Bridge dugout last July, the Argentine oversaw just three wins from his first 10 Premier League games in charge of the Blues this season.

However, his side are finishing the campaign strongly and occupy seventh place – level on points with sixth-place Newcastle United and six behind Tottenham in fifth with two games remaining.

"The team is doing well, in the second part of the season – in the last 26 or 27 games," Pochettino told reporters. 

"If we can compete well in the last two games then there is a possibility to get into Europe, which would be amazing for us.

"If we are able to finish well and get into Europe, for sure, we can start the next season with hope to be in a better position than we were in this season."

Meanwhile, 10th-place Brighton have struggled for form in recent times, winning just one of their last eight league games – albeit that victory came against Champions League-chasing Aston Villa last time out on home soil.

Nevertheless, head coach Roberto De Zerbi is targeting a third successive top-half finish in the English top flight.

"I want us to finish in the top 10," he said during his pre-match press conference. "It’s important because, after Sunday, we go on holiday. When we’re on holiday, if we have no points [from the last two games], it will be a problem for me."

De Zerbi also paid tribute to the departing Adam Lallana, who will leave the Seagulls when his contract expires at the end of this season after four years with the club.

"I've been lucky to work with him because he is an honest guy, a top man," the Italian added. "I have learned a lot from him because he loves football."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brighton and Hove Albion – Joao Pedro

Scoring the match winner against Aston Villa last time out at the American Express Stadium, Pedro became the first Brighton player to bag 20 goals in a single season since Glenn Murray in 2016-17 (23).

The Brazilian has now been on target five times in the Seagulls’ last five Premier League outings on home soil.

Chelsea – Nicolas Jackson

The Senegal striker has been directly involved in five goals in his last three Premier League appearances for Chelsea (four goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 11 such games (three goals, two assists). 

With 14 league goals already this season – none of which have been penalties – he could be the first Blues player to score 15 non-penalty goals in a Premier League campaign since Tammy Abraham in 2019-20.

MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA

Chelsea have won 29 points in the Premier League in 2024, with only the top three clubs – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool – collecting more since the turn of the year. 

The Blues have lost just one of their last 13 league games (won seven, drawn five), and are aiming to win four in a row for the first time since October 2022.

Meanwhile, Brighton have now failed to score more than once in each of their last 11 Premier League outings, their longest such run in the competition.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Brighton and Hove Albion: 33.8%
Chelsea: 37.3%
Draw: 28.9%

Mauricio Pochettino admits it would be "amazing" for Chelsea to secure European qualification ahead of their trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

After replacing Graham Potter in the Stamford Bridge dugout last July, the Argentine oversaw just three wins from his first 10 Premier League games in charge of the Blues this season.

However, his side are finishing the campaign strongly and occupy seventh place – level on points with sixth-place Newcastle United and six behind Tottenham in fifth with two games remaining.

"The team is doing well, in the second part of the season – in the last 26 or 27 games," Pochettino told reporters. 

"If we can compete well in the last two games then there is a possibility to get into Europe, which would be amazing for us.

"If we are able to finish well and get into Europe, for sure, we can start the next season with hope to be in a better position than we were in this season."

Meanwhile, 10th-place Brighton have struggled for form in recent times, winning just one of their last eight league games – albeit that victory came against Champions League-chasing Aston Villa last time out on home soil.

Nevertheless, head coach Roberto De Zerbi is targeting a third successive top-half finish in the English top flight.

"I want us to finish in the top 10," he said during his pre-match press conference. "It’s important because, after Sunday, we go on holiday. When we’re on holiday, if we have no points [from the last two games], it will be a problem for me."

De Zerbi also paid tribute to the departing Adam Lallana, who will leave the Seagulls when his contract expires at the end of this season after four years with the club.

"I've been lucky to work with him because he is an honest guy, a top man," the Italian added. "I have learned a lot from him because he loves football."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brighton and Hove Albion – Joao Pedro

Scoring the match winner against Aston Villa last time out at the American Express Stadium, Pedro became the first Brighton player to bag 20 goals in a single season since Glenn Murray in 2016-17 (23).

The Brazilian has now been on target five times in the Seagulls’ last five Premier League outings on home soil.

Chelsea – Nicolas Jackson

The Senegal striker has been directly involved in five goals in his last three Premier League appearances for Chelsea (four goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 11 such games (three goals, two assists). 

With 14 league goals already this season – none of which have been penalties – he could be the first Blues player to score 15 non-penalty goals in a Premier League campaign since Tammy Abraham in 2019-20.

MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA

Chelsea have won 29 points in the Premier League in 2024, with only the top three clubs – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool – collecting more since the turn of the year. 

The Blues have lost just one of their last 13 league games (won seven, drawn five), and are aiming to win four in a row for the first time since October 2022.

Meanwhile, Brighton have now failed to score more than once in each of their last 11 Premier League outings, their longest such run in the competition.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Brighton and Hove Albion: 33.8%
Chelsea: 37.3%
Draw: 28.9%

Mauricio Pochettino reiterated he plans to still be in charge of Chelsea next season following his side's remarkable win over Nottingham Forest.

Chelsea made it three wins in a row - and four without defeat - thanks to a battling 3-2 victory in Saturday's Premier League clash at City Ground.

Pochettino has repeatedly had his position called into question this season, but the Blues' upturn in form has changed all that.

Speaking on the eve of the Forest game, the Argentinian said he would stay as long as owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali were happy.

And asked again about his future by Sky Sports after the match, Pochettino said: "I had an honest conversation in the press conference. 

"To clarify, if the owner is happy with my job we can continue. I am always a coach who is thinking long term. 

"All departments must be happy for us to be a good team to compete. I still have one more year in my contract and I am thinking to be here."

Chelsea found themselves behind against Forest when Mykhailo Mudryk's opener was cancelled out by Willy Boly and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

However, Raheem Sterling equalised on 80 minutes and fellow substitute Reece James assisted Nicolas Jackson's winner two minutes later.

The 35 points Chelsea have collected since Boxing Day has been bettered only by top three sides Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

"The best thing is the way that we always believe until the end," Pochettino said after his side's latest victory. "Football is about fighting. 

"I am pleased because the players from the bench made a big impact so I am happy with our recovery. 

"It was important for the team to finish the season strong, with the hope to start next season really well.

"If we are honest, we were punished in our first 10 games. Our performance was good but we were not clinical and we wasted big chances. 

"All the data said we were in a false position. After we beat Tottenham, in the last 24 games we are in the top four or five.

"I want to be positive, that is important. We have struggled in these type of games but this young team need to realise how we need to compete."

Chelsea are level on points with sixth-place Newcastle United, who occupy a Europa Conference League play-off spot.

Tottenham are six points better off in a Europa League spot, meanwhile, with two games left to play for both sides.

Asked if his side can still qualify for Europe, Pochettino said: "I hope, yes. But there are still two big games."

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