Circus act: Rio Ferdinand claims Chelsea are becoming a ‘circus act’ following the exit of Mauricio Pochettino

Circus act: Rio Ferdinand claims Chelsea are becoming a ‘circus act’ following the exit of Mauricio Pochettino

Rio Ferdinand believes Chelsea are becoming a ‘circus act’ after Mauricio Pochettino left the Premier League club are just one season.

Pochettino was under huge pressure earlier in the year but the tide appeared to be turning at Stamford Bridge as he led Chelsea to five successive wins to finish the season sixth.

Chelsea’s impressive late burst saw them overtake West Ham, Manchester United and Newcastle United in the Premier League table and secure an unexpected return to Europe.

But Chelsea’s owners held end-of-season talks with Pochettino earlier in the week where it was agreed that it was in the best interest of all parties for the Argentine to leave.

Chelsea will now search for their fifth manager since the start of the 2022-23 campaign and Ferdinand insists taking over at Stamford Bridge will be a ‘hard job’ for anybody.

‘This has come as an absolute surprise to many,’ the Manchester United legend said on the Vibe with Five YouTube channel. ‘I said a few days ago that I thought he could go, but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

‘Under the circumstances, I think Mauricio and his team have done a good job. They were a laughing stock at times in the season but he brought it together.

‘You look at it and think, “what are Chelsea trying to do here?” They brought in loads of new players, inexperienced players, so they were asking for miracles this season.

‘I thought it would be a process where he tries to stabilise this season – which he has – and then brings in some experience and they could have a chance next season. They might not be that far away if he gets the right pieces in the summer.

‘But then he gets the sack and now we’re looking at a circus act.

‘I’m looking at some of the names being linked – Sebastian Hoeneß, Kieran McKenna, Enzo Maresca, Roberto De Zerbi – they’re all good names doing good work but this is Chelsea man.

‘I think it’s a hard job now, I think it’s difficult. They’re looking to get a young, exciting manager and a project to get behind but this could be the start of another summer of craziness at Chelsea.’

Former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot has also expressed his surprise over Pochettino’s departure from west London and says the ex-Tottenham boss deserved at least one more season.

‘When the new manager came there was so much instability at the club and Pochettino came in and it was very difficult for him,’ Melchiot told BBC Radio 5 Live. ‘It would be difficult for anybody.

‘Towards the end of the season is what sets you up for the season that’s coming. He built the team and got them into a European spot. At the beginning of the season I said Europe should be the focus, nothing else.

‘Don’t ask to go for the title or Champions League – that would be a big jump. But getting into Europe? Come on, guys. That should be something for you to consider one more year.’

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