Palmer and Mudryk concur on Pochettino’s tactic that unlocks Chelsea’s potential
Despite a rocky start to life at Chelsea, manager Mauricio Pochettino appears to finally have things in working order. It might’ve taken him a few months to get there – but it’s better late than never.
While we’ve seen the likes of Ange Postecoglou in north London immediately make an impact with his new Tottenham side, it was very different for the Blues boss who came into an injury-plagued club full of deadwood that needed to be cast off. And while he’s still moulding the squad to fit his liking, it’s evident that things are starting to come together.
One thing that has stood out about Pochettino is his immediate trust in players, the way he’s willing to put his faith in someone from the get-go. A prime example of that has been Conor Gallagher, who was rumoured to be subject to a move to Spurs over the summer after a tough campaign last year under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard.
However, the manager’s immediate backing of the midfielder, and even the act of handing him the captain’s armband five times in the Premier League this season on top of the Carabao Cup second-round win against AFC Wimbledon is a clear statement to his squad that he’s willing to come in with a clean slate.
Another player that Pochettino has already unlocked this season has been Mykhailo Mudryk, after the Ukrainian international’s poor start to life at Stamford Bridge had threatened to permanently overshadow the raw potential seen in him. Tales of the pair playing crossbar challenge at the end of training sessions went viral but both acknowledged the growth that the youngster had gone through in the process.
Having not scored since his arrival in January, the 22-year-old’s first goal for the Blues came just over a month ago against Fulham in a 2-0 win at Carven Cottage. He then followed that up with his second just two games later, a delightful chip over Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya that spawned an iconic shot of him celebrating in front of the Matthew Harding Stand.
But Mudryk hasn’t hidden away from who has helped him develop his game in such rapid fashion as he named the Blues boss as the prime source. During preseason, he could already see the difference in himself from last season. “Not everything depends on what happens in a match. It’s more an effect of your mentality,” he said.
“When you feel confident and you feel the coach trusts you, you play another game without any doubts. From the opening days of pre-season, I started to understand what the coach wants from us – and from me. That makes it easier to enjoy the game with my team-mates.”
There’s been a lot of similarity with the way Pochettino has spoken about Palmer, highlighting that he’s perfect for the club’s youthful project and that while he’s a player for the future, he’s also a player for the present. The Argentine’s use of the former Man City star has been fantastic so far, with Palmer himself commenting on the impact Pochettino has had on his overall game so early on in his time with Chelsea.
“A lot of people told me how he is with young players and ever since I went to Chelsea I can see it,” he told the club’s official website. “So I’m enjoying working with him and I’m excited to carry on working with him.
“I am a player who always wants the ball, anywhere, to try and help the team get out of a difficult situation or create a chance. He has given me the confidence and licence to go where I want on the pitch, where I feel I can use my strengths, so I’m grateful for it.”