Comparing what Mauricio Pochettino inherited at Spurs to Chelsea now

Mauricio Pochettino has agreed terms to become the new Chelsea manager.

Pochettino is no stranger to a rebuild as he orchestrated Tottenham’s rise up the league from 2014 to 2019. Pochettino delivered four consecutive top-four finishes while in North London and also made it to a Champions League final.

We have taken a look back at the squad he inherited at Tottenham back in 2014 and compared it to the Chelsea squad he will be walking into.

Last league finish

Pochettino took over in North London at the beginning of the 2014–15 season. Tim Sherwood had guided the club to a sixth-placed finish in the previous season, two points behind Everton and 10 behind bitter rivals Arsenal.

Things had begun to unravel towards the end of Sherwood’s tenure as they lost five of his last 11 Premier League games. This prompted Daniel Levy to sack him at the end of the season, before then hiring Pochettino.

While the circumstances at Tottenham weren’t great at the time, that’s nothing compared to the chaos he will be inheriting at Stamford Bridge.

Thomas Tuchel had guided the club to third in the Premier League during his first full season with the club, but his head was soon on the chopping block once Todd Boehly arrived in the summer.

Things only got worse under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard has also struggled to turn around their fortunes. They currently sit 11th in the table and are projected to finish the season with a mere 47 points.

March 09, 2022, PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain, played at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on March 09, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

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Tottenham had used 28 players in the Premier League season before Pochettino arrived. As follows:

Hugo Lloris, Michael Dawson, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele, Roberto Soldado, Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker, Andros Townsend, Christian Eriksen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nacer Chadli, Jan Verthonghen, Danny Rose, Kyle Naughton, Emmanuel Adebayor, Sandro, Vlad Chiriches, Nabil Bentaleb, Jermain Defoe, Lewis Holtby, Younes Kaboul, Etienne Capoue, Harry Kane, Erik Lamela, Ezekial Fryers, Milos Veljkovic, Alex Pritchard & Brad Friedel. 28

This season, Chelsea’s first-team squad is as follows:

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcus Bettinelli, Edouard Mendy, Gabriel Slonina, Benoit Badiashile, Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernandez, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount, Denis Zakaria, Conor Gallagher, Carney Chukwuemeka, Lewis Hall, Andrey Santos, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Christian Pulisic, Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling, Armando Broja, Hakim Ziyech, David Datro Fofana, Kai Havertz, Noni Madueke.

While there are some comparisons that can be drawn between the two squads, the most obvious difference is the size of each squad. Chelsea have used 32 players in the league alone this season.

The huge influx of players has led to an unbalanced squad being assembled. Pochettino’s first task will be to trim down the squad and to identify the players to build his side around.

While Chelsea’s squad does have more star power than the side Pochettino inherited at Tottenham, some similarities can also be drawn. Spurs had a bright group of prospects coming through in 2014 and Chelsea now also have their fair share of young talent.


There was a net spend of just £4million during Pochettino’s first summer under Daniel Levy, as £43million was spent on new players, while £39m was recouped from sales.

The likes of Sigurdsson, Sandro, Livermore, Naughton, Dawson and Fryers were sold so that the Argentine manager could reshape the squad to his needs.

Ben Davies was the most expensive signing made, costing £11million. He was joined by Federico Fazio, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, DeAndre Yedlin and Michel Vorm, who all arrived for modest fees.

Tottenham’s frugal transfer strategy is pretty much the polar opposite of what’s currently going on at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea spent over £280million in the 2023 January transfer window alone.

Under Boehly’s ownership so far, Chelsea have spent around £550million. It’s probably fair to say that Pochettino will be afforded a bit more leeway in the transfer market in his new job.

Young players

The former Tottenham boss made a name for himself in North London because of his excellent track record with developing the younger players in their squad.

Kane in particular was the biggest beneficiary of that, as his goal output exploded under Pochettino. He got a total of 31 league goals, 21 of which came in the league, during his first campaign under Pochettino and he hasn’t let up since.

There was also young talent recruited, as Davies and Dier were 21 and 20 respectively when they walked through the doors at White Hart Lane during the summer. Alli was just 18 when he was signed from MK Dons during the winter window, before being loaned back for the remainder of the season.

At Chelsea, there are plenty of young stars who look like prospects for the future. Their squad has an average age of 25.9, which is the fifth lowest in the Premier League.

Players such as Fernandez and Mudryk are expected to play a large role in this Chelsea side going forward. Young talents like Santos, Fofana and Badiashile could also have a bright future in the game.

Levi Colwill celebrates after the under-21 international between England and France at King Power Stadium, Leicester, March 2023.

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What happened next

Pochettino didn’t quite have the opening season he would have liked at Spurs, as he missed out on the top four and lost against Chelsea in the League Cup final.

However, he went on to strengthen his name as a manager, helping the likes of Kane, Eriksen, Son, Alli, Alderweireld and Rose become one of the best in their position in the Premier League during his reign.

There was also relative success as a collective, with Spurs finishing in the top four in four consecutive seasons, having only done so twice in the Premier League era before Pochettino’s arrival. His one big shortfall is that he couldn’t deliver a trophy, but their run to the Champions League final – before losing 1-0 to Liverpool – has gone down in Spurs folklore.

Ultimately, his success at Stamford Bridge is likely to be judged on whether or not he can deliver silverware at the club. The most pressing issue will be to get Chelsea back competing for the top four, but the demand for trophies is still pressing at the club.

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