Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino dismisses Liverpool comparisons - 'It's not fair'

Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Chelsea on the side line during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Chelsea FC at Bramall Lane on April 7, 2024 in Sheffield, England. 

Chelsea won’t be challenging for the Premier League title next season even if they have no European football to contend with, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino. 

The Blues lie ninth in the table ahead of a home game with Everton on Monday night, and amid an erratic campaign are up against it to secure qualification to the Europa League or even the Europa Conference League.

Pochettino’s side do have an FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City to come at Wembley, a competition which signifies their last chance of salvaging some silverware after their Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool. 

But the Argentinian has now faced questions on whether a second successive year without European football could benefit his side in the manner that previously did for the Reds.

Back in the 2013/14 campaign, they were considered rank outsiders for the title under Brendan Rodgers after only finishing seventh the previous season. However, with no European distraction they came within three games of glory before capitulating as Man City came though.

Chelsea seemingly benefited from the same notion in 2016/17, finishing top of the table under Antonio Conte. But Pochettino dismissed comparisons to both of those sides, arguing his particular ‘project’ is at a different stage.

"You can ask me if we were in the same philosophy or the same project but now it's completely different,” he said. "You cannot compare our situation to Conte or Brendan Rodgers.”

Citing the argument that Conte inherited a squad of proven Premier League winners from Jose Mourinho, he added: “It's not fair to compare even if it's good or bad. It's not fair because this is a very different Chelsea today, a different project."

The 52-year-old is under pressure this season, with his position as manager under scrutiny and the club needing to sell players in the summer to avoid Financial Fair Play sanctions. But Pochettino insisted he remains focused on the immediate job on hand, and not on next season.

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"I told you before, the conversation is always to win the next game,” he argued. "The most important thing is to win the next and then the next and then see which position we arrive.

"It is always good to have targets but when you have them, it's about having all the elements on the right side. With all the circumstances we are living in, it's just about trying to be competitive. We need to keep winning, not to put objectives in front of us that cause us to get frustrated when we don't win some games that we were supposed to win."

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