‘Chelsea have a winning culture’ is a very true statement from recent history. Under Roman Abramovich, we had exactly that, winning trophies every single season and enjoying consistent and constant success.
But as I wrote about a couple of weeks back now, this football club is not the same football club now under the new ownership. So what even is our culture now?
Glen Johnson picked up on it perfectly and explained how the whole club has been gutted and changed from the top to the very bottom, and to be honest, it felt like something that probably needed doing. Everything needed refreshing, and the squad, most importantly, needed completely gutting and changing.
Abramovich was an amazing owner for us but I felt like his time at the club was coming to an end anyway. The squad we had was tired, lacked quality, lacked strong mentalities, and it just felt like at that point we needed to make big changes. And that is exactly what the new owners came in and did.
But we are a new football club now – it’s completely changed, and it’s completely different. And I do believe this has been for the better. It might not show yet, but it will eventually.
Chelsea Football Club, the name alone at least, DOES have a winning culture, and we should absolutely keep that in the club even though it will still take some time to feel like that and get back to that point.
The manager of our opposition tonight, Erik ten Hag, recently revealed that the culture and standards at Manchester United had fallen when he walked through the door, but Pochettino says Chelsea is the opposite and all he has to do is continue the rich tradition.
He told reporters gathered at Chelsea’s training base in Cobham:
“No, no, no. It’s different. We don’t want to change the culture. We want to build something, a project.”
“The culture of Chelsea is about winning. How we are going to change a culture in a club that is about winning? No, no, no. If you ask me here if I want to change the culture here? No. We are here to try to build a project together with the new owners, the sporting director, and the club, altogether.”
“It’s a project. It’s not a culture. The culture that is here is about to win and now we need to be at this level. Is it a different project from the past? Of course. It’s different. A different way to approach things? Of course. Because it’s a different view. To be at the same level in the past, but the culture of Chelsea is about to win.”
I know people will react to these quotes in different ways, but at the very least it is interesting what he is saying.
People will run these quotes back every time we lose this season and Pochettino is heard making any kind of excuse. Because he is saying Chelsea is about winning, like he did at the start of the season. So in that sense he will be increasing pressure on himself with these comments.
But at the same time, what he is saying here is good to hear. None of us want to hear the excuses of this being a long-term project every time we perform badly or don’t get a result, despite most of us understanding that this IS a process and there WILL be bumps in the road.
All we have heard in the last two years is excuses, and although many of them are warranted (excess injuries etc), Chelsea fans will take more comfort from knowing that the boss, the players, the owners, the directors, are all in-sync with believing that Chelsea ARE Chelsea, and the culture here IS about winning.
Pochettino says we need to be at a certain level at Chelsea, and he’s bang on. We are in a project and a process, but we still have to aim high and have standards. And I genuinely think we do.
Words like this from the boss will feed throughout the squad and create that belief and those intentions. This is why I’d much rather hear things like this than ‘we lost because we are in a project’ kind of thing.
Set the standards early, and keep to them.
We all have fairly low expectations for Chelsea’s immediate future at least. So we can only get better and move forward, and we will.