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Boehly's vote of confidence: Why Poch deserves it with Chelsea (& Madueke) overachieving

COMMENT: So he safe's. Mauricio Pochettino. Whether he actually needed one, that's up for debate. But Chelsea's manager has just received a public vote confidence - and it's the best thing Todd Boehly has done all season...

Of course, it came from the other side of the world. Amongst his own set at the Sportico conference in Los Angeles. Not in London. Not in conversation with the local Blues support. But you take what you can get from this lot, don't you?

"We've seen the last two and a half games," stated Boehly from the Sportico stage earlier today, "at least in the second half at Aston Villa [2-2 draw] and Tottenham and West Ham where we played just 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 and the number of shots we had on board. In those two and a half games, you could really start to see what we were working on coming together."

So he's enjoying it. The board's enjoying it. Goals. Entertainment. Pochettino and his young team - albeit inconsistently - are delivering. And then, from Boehly, came the kicker: "Even the commentary has changed over the last two and a half games.

"I've never seen anything change so quickly."

Which beyond the performance. Even beyond protecting their assets (the players) and the potential slide in value that comes with a struggling team. The fact that these past three games has reversed the headlines. Eased the scrutiny. And lifted the media pressure on Boehly and his fellow directors has clearly been welcome.

"I've never seen anything change so quickly." Welcome to the extremes of the Premier League. The highest of highs. The lowest of lows. And with nothing inbetween. And it can all change in an instant. That's the Premier League.

But beyond such surface level stuff, there's actually some great work that Pochettino, Jesus Perez and the rest of the Blues' senior staff are pulling off. As we stated before the season kicked off, this squad isn't a contender. Indeed, for it's inexperience, it's lack of balance - even for it's lack of genuine quality - this column rated Chelsea as a mid-table team - at best. And that was before the loss of Reece James for the season. Indeed, Pochettino has been denied as many as 14 senior players through the campaign due to injury. Yet, he has his team sitting in seventh place on the table and with European qualification now well within reach. For the tools he's been granted, it's incredible what Pochettino has managed to achieve.

And no player epitomises what we've seen this past month more than Noni Madueke. Again, just as this column rated this team as mid-table, we also saw the addition of Madueke as a 'project player' and little more. A roll of the dice from the club's recruitment chiefs. No guarantee. Not one to make the difference at a top four club. But perhaps a player who could develop into a decent squad option.

Leaving Tottenham as a teen. Rejecting Manchester United after trials. Madueke did find his feet - and a career - in the Eredivisie with PSV. But he was raw. Inconsistent. And the decision to bring him back to London by Chelsea was a surprise.

And he struggled. He struggled to handle the step up. He struggled with the spotlight. As he did with his in-game discipline. But this is where Pochettino earns his money. If they're open-minded. If they're committed. Pochettino will work with young talent. He'll lift them. Improve them. Which is exactly what we've seen these past few weeks from Madueke.

Indeed, after that five-star performance against his old club, Spurs, Pochettino was eager to lay out the work that had been undertaken between his staff and the player to produce the results we're now seeing: "Noni Madueke today, for me, unbelievable. If you analyze him from the start of the season; all the conversations and meetings, clips and videos, things like this.

“He was capable today of doing a fantastic job with the ball – of course, he is an offensive player – but without the ball he is doing a fantastic job helping Alfie [Gilchrist] defend. That is what we need for the future, to build this competitive spirit."

Ability. Attitude. As Pochettino says, that is what will build a successful team. They're not there yet, but Chelsea - under this manager - are exceeding expectations. And in doing so has given their owner something to boast about - even if it is from the other side of the world.

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie


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