Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly believes the Blues' plan is finally starting to come together, hailing the "beautiful football" played by Mauricio Pochettino's men in recent weeks. 

Chelsea have spent over £1billion on players in less than two years under the Boehly regime, but they have had to wait to see any kind of return on that sizeable investment.

Following a dismal 12th-placed Premier League finish in 2022-23, Chelsea endured a difficult start to their first campaign under Pochettino, but a recent upturn has them eyeing European qualification.

Chelsea have only lost one of their last 12 Premier League games (six wins, five draws), beating Tottenham 2-0 and West Ham 5-0 in their last two to move into the top seven.

With games against Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Hove Albion and Bournemouth to come, the Blues have put themselves in with a chance of securing Europa League football for next season, and Boehly is delighted with their progress.

Speaking at a Sportico conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Boehly said: "We've seen the last two and a half games... in the second half at Aston Villa and against Tottenham and West Ham, we played beautiful football.

"It was so fluid, it was exactly the way we drew it up, when we came out of the back, built up and moved up the pitch, it was very organised, then the number of shots we had…

"In those two and a half games, you could really start to see what we were working on coming together." 

Chelsea's 5-0 rout of West Ham last Sunday made it nine wins in their last 11 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge (one draw, one defeat).

Since the start of December, they have earned the joint-most home wins (nine, alongside Arsenal) and home points (28, level with Manchester City) in the Premier League.

Chelsea’s wage bill rose to more than £400million last season – the second highest in the Premier League, according to accounts published by Companies House.

The Blues finished 12th in the Premier League last term but their salary costs have risen by 18 per cent to £404m, with only treble-winning Manchester City paying out more (£422.9m).

In the first full season under the new ownership of Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium, Chelsea paid £747m on transfers up to June 30, 2023. Since then, they have spent another £454m on transfers.

Players who had initially cost the club £592m were sold for £203m although accounting regulations allow the West London outfit a profit of around £63m.

Chelsea announced pre-tax losses of £90.1million in March, an improvement on the previous years’ loss of £121.4m, but Premier League rules state a club can have made a loss no greater than £105m over a three-year period.

While certain costs can be deducted, it means there are likely to be further player sales required in the coming months in order to remain within regulations, particularly with qualification for Europe via their league position looking unlikely this campaign.

The sale of Mason Mount to Manchester United in July last year for £55m, with a possible £5m in add-ons, will be in the 2023/24 accounts although so too will the signing of Moises Caicedo from Brighton for a fee that could rise to up to £115m.

On Friday, it was announced Chelsea spent £75.1m on agents’ and intermediaries’ fees in the 12 months up to February 1, having brought in players like Caicedo, Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia, Nicolas Jackson and Cole Palmer over the period covered – which was almost £32m more than previously spent.

Despite the outlay Mauricio Pochettino’s expensively-assembled squad have endured an inconsistent Premier League campaign – and were branded “blue billion-pound bottle jobs” by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville late on during their 1-0 extra-time defeat against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.

A £76.5m property deal with BlueCo, a subsidiary of the club’s holding company, helped to reduce Chelsea’s losses, while their turnover increased to £512m, up from £481m over the previous year.

Mauricio Pochettino warned his players hard work is still required at Chelsea despite the increase to their status and bank balance that comes with joining the club.

A chaotic campaign that has seen the first-team squad decimated by injuries threatens to peter out, with the club marooned in 12th place ahead of the visit of Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.

It comes five days after the league’s second-bottom side Burnley left west London with a 2-2 draw despite playing the whole of the second half with 10 men, as relations between the club and its supporters seemed to sink further into discord.

The club has an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley to come later in the month, likely to be their only chance of salvaging a dismal season.

Chelsea are on course for their second bottom-half league finish in a row and Pochettino called on his players to use the final weeks of the campaign to follow his own hard-working example and show supporters why they were signed as part of a £1billion overhaul of the squad.

“When I was in Espanyol, my first job as a coach, I was on the training ground at seven o’clock every morning,” said the Argentinian.

“Then I moved to Southampton, six-thirty. Then Tottenham, seven. Then Paris (St Germain), six in the morning. Now six forty-five. You can ask the guy on security.

“It’s not going to change after 15 years. My passion is here. My motivation is football. You increase your bank account but that cannot put me in a comfortable zone to say ‘now I will arrive at nine o’clock and leave at two o’clock’. I need to keep pushing myself.

“If (a player) arrives from another club where there was less money, less expectation but now I arrive here because people believe I am so good, what do I need to do? It’s to arrive early, it’s to work more, it’s to run more, be focused more.

“It’s more responsibility now. We feel that responsibility.”

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust wrote to the owners and senior management last month to communicate their dismay at the direction the club is taking under the leadership of Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium.

The letter warned of potentially irreparable damage that is being done to the relationship between the club and its supporters, as the team has gone from being Champions League regulars to a mid-table side in less than two years.

Pochettino rejected the suggestion players have already adopted the view that the season is doomed and there is little left to salvage.

“If you are in a comfort zone, you drop in your level, you drop in your standard,” he said. “I don’t say that that has happened here. Too many other things have happened.”

Mauricio Pochettino said Chelsea’s owners are suffering along with supporters as the team labours in the bottom half of the Premier League table, after fans accused the club of becoming a “laughing stock” since Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital took charge.

A letter written by the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust to senior management on March 8 described a “critically low mood” amongst fans that it felt could not be ignored if a situation of “irreversible toxicity” was to be avoided.

The team are 11th in the league and face the likelihood of a second successive season out of Europe if they fail to overcome Manchester City in next month’s FA Cup semi-final and go on to win the competition.

Pochettino’s tenure has been badly marred by a persistent and lengthy injury list, with nine players confirmed absent for Saturday’s meeting with Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

However, it has not stopped fans turning on the former Tottenham boss in recent weeks, including during the FA Cup win over Leicester before the international break.

A section of supporters sang “you don’t know what you’re doing” before Chelsea edged past the Championship side 4-2 with two stoppage-time goals, and at previous home games were heard singing the names of former manager Jose Mourinho and ex-owner Roman Abramovich.

“I’m going to support the owners that invest and that arrived to the club in a very difficult situation,” said Pochettino.

“The intention is very good. The owners are trying to develop a different project to before. Fans need to understand that it’s a new project with different ideas.

“What we cannot say is they’re not investing and that they don’t have good intentions. They are suffering.”

Despite supporter ire, there have been signs of promise in recent results and performances.

Chelsea have not lost in the league in almost two months since a 4-2 defeat to Wolves at the start of February, and dominated an albeit inexperienced Liverpool team in the Carabao Cup final before losing to a goal in the last minute of extra-time.

Victory over the Clarets on Saturday and at home to Manchester United on Thursday would likely drag them into contention for a place in next season’s Europa Conference League.

“If you look at all the data, in the table we should be in fourth position,” said Pochettino. “But for different reasons, we are not there.

“What the data means is that we are in a good way. In which area do we need to improve? It’s things (that will come) with time. We need to compete better, small details. You can only get this with experience with time playing together.

“It’s easy to find the data when you want to kill someone. But when the data is good and reflects the team is doing well but for different reasons we’re not getting the results we deserve, (we should) trust in the process.

“We know really well what we are doing. That’s why I laugh. I don’t take it personally when the fans say that.”

Mauricio Pochettino finds constant talk of Chelsea’s billion-pound spend tiresome and remains convinced his under-fire players will develop into “an amazing team”.

Blues boss Pochettino has overseen an underwhelming campaign since arriving at Stamford Bridge last summer and his expensively-assembled squad faced further criticism following Sunday’s Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville branded them “blue billion-pound bottle jobs” late in their 1-0 extra-time defeat to opponents deprived of a host of star names due to injury.

Former Tottenham and Paris St Germain manager Pochettino is confident he retains the backing of Chelsea’s co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali and is adamant the club’s costly long-term project in the post-Roman Abramovich era is destined for success.

“The problem is so annoying when after eight months always people talk about one billion,” Pochettino said ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Leeds.

“I feel that’s a little bit unfair.

“The new owners arrived with the right intention and they want to build something that is different from the past.

“For me the players have an amazing quality, they only need time.

“It’s not an excuse for me because if I am here or not, it’s not dependent on me, it’s dependent of my job and I think we are doing an amazing job.

“We cannot see maybe great results. But I think with time we are going to have an amazing team because we are young, we are learning, because we create something that starts to appear in the training ground.”

Chelsea sit 11th in the Premier League, 17 points adrift of the top four and 15 above the relegation zone.

European qualification already looks to be a major ask, while the big-spending Blues must overcome the side sitting second in the Sky Bet Championship to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals and keep alive hope of silverware this term.

“People that work here for many years say they start to feel in a different way how the club is,” said Pochettino.

“But unfortunately we cannot relate in points. Always this type of process needs time.”

Asked if he expects the club’s ownership to remain patient with him, Pochettino replied: “Why not? I am confident until they tell me something.

“I feel the support from them. When I go up (to receive his runners-up medal at Wembley), I was so upset, nearly crying when I arrived there.

“And then Todd sent a very, very nice text to me, and then I met Behdad and he was really, really good.

“Our responsibility is to match the expectation, and when the expectation and the reality is close it’s easy.

“We need to translate to our people that they need to trust and be patient because we are building in a different way to succeed.”

Pochettino has been encouraged by his players’ response to the weekend disappointment and feels they are motivated to prove a point against Leeds.

“Always the pressure is to win and to go through,” he said.

“To arrive to the first final of the season in England is a massive achievement but after you don’t get the title it’s tough.

“Now is a game that is going to be tough. We need to be strong, with good energy and the players want to show that we are in the way that is going to be good for the club.”

Mauricio Pochettino said football’s stakeholders should not be hypocritical in their judgement of Chelsea after the club’s spending surpassed £1billion under the ownership of Todd Boehly.

The £40million signing of Cole Palmer from Manchester City on Friday pushed total outlay during the last 16 months into 10 figures, with more than £400m having been spent on 12 players in the summer window alone.

That has in part been offset by player sales for significant fees earlier in the window with 14 first-team departures since the end of the last season, most notably midfielders Kai Havertz and Mason Mount who left for a combined £120m.

It was also confirmed on Friday that 20-year-old striker Mason Burstow has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan while Callum Hudson-Odoi has signed for Nottingham Forest, ending a 16-year association with the club.

Chelsea host Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday looking to make it three wins in a row after victories against Luton in the Premier League and AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup.

The manager has previously said that anything less than Champions League qualification in his first season will be deemed a failure following the owners’ mammoth transfer outlay which has seen them break the British transfer record twice in 2023.

And with Boehly still relatively inexperienced in European football, Pochettino was at pains to emphasise his responsibility to help guide and advise his employer.

“You can talk about being very surprised about (the billion-pound landmark), or not,” said Pochettino. “It depends. Today football is… we need to evolve. Today it’s different. Completely different. We manage a different type of numbers.

“If 20 years ago we had thought this was going to happen, maybe no one would believe it. But today, it’s normal in football, this type of money moving around.

“It’s a big business, football. And we cannot stop. I think we all get the benefit here, no? I think we cannot be hypocrites. To be involved in football in different areas, you (the press) there or me here. We are living all (what) that business produces.

“I’m not going to be here to give lessons to anyone, but I think football is about getting a good balance. For me, yes Chelsea is spending money. But also it’s selling players. Money in and money out.

“In that case, people arrive in a club in the Premier League like our owners, it’s normal. They want to settle and develop their project, and we are people that are going to help them to be right in their decisions, because we are professionals of football.

“We are giving our vision and advice, and of course after (that) it’s up to them. That is a very special situation that happened from the beginning.”

Pochettino will have Mykhailo Mudryk available for selection after the winger missed last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Luton.

The Ukraine international, who signed for £88m from Shakhtar Donetsk in January but is yet to score or consistently show the kind of form that persuaded Chelsea to bring him to west London, has played just 54 minutes this season and is yet to start a game under Pochettino.

“He’s a very talented player,” said the manager. “He needs to first of all, before talking about football, he needs to feel comfortable, feel really strong in his body. He suffered (during) the (under-21) Euros, he only played one game (because) he was suffering from some injury.

“When I arrived here was never consistent in training, always something happened. Now we are focused and trying to help me to be really strong, healthy and feel good to start to perform.

“No one can perform if they do not feel strong and really confident in your body. It’s time we need to build his confidence. We are working. I hope in the next few weeks he starts to find his best form to start to help the team.”

Chelsea are set to take their spending under Todd Boehly to a whopping £1billion if they can get deals for Romeo Lavia and Michael Olise over the line.

The American has splashed the cash since taking over at Stamford Bridge, backing Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Mauricio Pochettino heavily in the transfer market.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the biggest deals.

Moses Caicedo (£115million)


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The Blues beat off competition from Liverpool for the signature of the highly-rated Brighton midfielder, who is the third most expensive under-21 player in the world behind Kylian Mbappe and Joao Felix. They paid £100m up front, but that could rise to £115m depending on certain criteria.

Enzo Fernandez (£106.8m)


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Chelsea smashed the British transfer record when they signed the World Cup winner from Benfica in the January transfer window for an outright £106m, surpassing Jack Grealish’s fee for his move from Aston Villa to Manchester City.

Mykhailo Mudryk (£88.5m)

The Ukraine star cost £62million up front when he joined from Shakhtar Donetsk in January, but that fee could rise to £88.5m with possible add-ons.

Wesley Fofana (£75m)

Chelsea were after defensive reinforcements when they signed Wesley Fofana from Leicester. The France international cost £70million, with a possible further £5m to be paid to the Foxes in add-ons.

Marc Cucurella (£63m)

Chelsea have looked to Brighton on a number of occasions and, a few months before Graham Potter made the move from the Amex, the Blues signed left-back Cucurella for £56m, with a further £7m due in extras.

Chelsea’s season plumbed new depths in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal, not just in that it was the sixth defeat of Frank Lampard’s six-game reign but also the manner in which the team seemed to disintegrate in the first half.

It is difficult to see where the team’s next win is coming from, and with three of the top four still to play as well as a trip to buoyant Bournemouth on Saturday, it may not come until August.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what has gone wrong and what hope this team have for the future.

How much worse can it get?

Materially, the answer appears to be ‘not much’. The team are not going to be relegated, though on current form that might be certain only because the season will run out of games before Chelsea run out of points.

The concern now is about what damage is being done to the players, staff and supporters psychologically on this desperately poor run-in, and how much time it will take to repair.

For a team this expensively assembled to lose six in a row – part of a winless run of eight during which only two goals have been scored – speaks to something more serious than a side lacking confidence and form.

Chelsea played like strangers in losing to Arsenal, world-class players seemingly unable to perform. The squad seem in a state of shock. The road back will not be straightforward.

What can be done in the short term?

The club appear to be damned whichever direction they move in.

Nobody could have predicted the speed or extent to which Lampard has looked out of his depth, but making yet another change barely a month after the latest one would not reflect well on the club.

Equally, putting the next permanent manager in the dugout now rather than letting him start with the spotlight off during the close-season could short-circuit the reboot at its inception.

Is there any good news?

Yes – the season is only five games from being over, but that could also be the bad news if losses keep piling up.

Yet for all the criticism of the way Todd Boehly has gone about Chelsea’s business, he has in an albeit wasteful and roundabout way assembled many of the parts that the club need in order to be a force again.

In Enzo Fernandez they have a genuine star of world football around whom a truly great team can be built, while Joao Felix – if he stays – is a game-changing talent with limitless potential.

Benoit Badiashile and Mykhailo Mudryk are fine young players starting to show signs of acclimatisation, and Wesley Fofana has hinted in flashes at why he was so highly regarded during his time at Leicester.

Scoring goals is a problem, and Christopher Nkunku – when he arrives from RB Leipzig in the summer – could be part of the solution.

Yet there remains the absence of a clinical, proven goalscorer and it is hard to see this team competing next season without one.

Could Pochettino be the man to turn things around?

This is another reason for supporters not to abandon hope. Mauricio Pochettino looks a decent fit for the urgent work that needs doing, with a proven record of transforming a squad of callow hopefuls into performers on the very biggest stage.

He ticks a lot of the boxes: tactical nous; good with young players; able to handle mature stars and their not-so-mature egos; charismatic.

Yet there is an almost unprecedented rebuild required at the club, and what success he has enjoyed in the past will not be a guarantee of anything.

If he is to turn things around, it will not happen overnight. But if anybody is going to get the club back on track, Pochettino looks as good a bet as anybody on the market.

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