Pochettino wants ‘genuine relationship’ with Chelsea fans

Mauricio Pochettino is determined to build a “genuine relationship” with Chelsea fans for all his previous association with London rivals Tottenham as he looks to capitalise on the goodwill generated by a remarkable 4-3 win over Manchester United.

Cole Palmer’s strike in the 11th minute of stoppage-time, the latest winning goal in Premier League history, sparked joyful scenes at Stamford Bridge on Thursday that were in marked contrast to the vocal anger of many Blues supporters during a disappointing Premier League season.

Chelsea have been booed off their own ground several times this campaign, with the most severe reaction coming following a 4-2 defeat by Wolves in February.

Pochettino’s men, however, are unbeaten in the league since that loss and have advanced to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they will play Manchester City.

But Thursday’s win was arguably Chelsea’s most memorable display since US businessman Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium bought the club almost two years ago.

Palmer’s winning goal, which saw him complete a hat-trick and came just seconds after he had equalised to draw Chelsea level at 3-3, sparked an outpouring of emotion among Chelsea management on the touchline and fans in the stands.

Chelsea supporters got used to seeing the side win Premier League titles under previous owner Roman Abramovich but the team had fallen from those heights by the time former Tottenham manager Pochettino took over from caretaker boss Frank Lampard in July last year.

“I played with my reputation to come here, in a project to build a team with young players, talented players,” Pochettino said. “We knew it was a massive challenge to build a team, win games and to be competitive, to take the risk with the fans.

“I said from the beginning, I want to build a genuine relationship. Not kissing the badge or doing stupid things on the touch line to win the (favour) of the fans.

“I want to provide the team with the tools to win games, to make them believe in ourselves and to build a relationship. I’m not here to be a populist and a hypocrite and say ‘I love the fans’, because I know it’s about time to build this relationship.”

AFP

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