Pochettino creates personalised plans to help players have 'fresh start' at Chelsea

Blues manager uses Fernandez, Mudryk, and Sterling as examples of players with different circumstances who will benefit from the individualised programmes

Mauricio Pochettino speaks at a press conference during his presentation as Chelsea manager. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

New Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has said personalised training plans will help his players have a "fresh start", using Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Raheem Sterling has different examples for how these individually-focused training regimes will benefit his squad.

Pochettino officially began work on Monday and the Argentine is tasked with returning Chelsea to the top of English and European football after a shambolic season, which saw the Blues finish 12th in the Premier League.

Chelsea will fly to the United States for their pre-season tour on July 17, and Pochettino said the early days of training will allow him the chance to imprint on his players that last season must be consigned to the past.

"Different players arrived in different circumstances but of course now is an opportunity," he told the Chelsea website. "We all go together to the USA and I hope we can help them to achieve their best level and try to perform for Chelsea in the way that people expect.

"After the last season, now is a fresh start, and I think they need to show their real quality. But we need to create this platform for them to feel comfortable for them to perform and improve. We are really focused on that."

Crucial to creating that platform is the individualised fitness and training programmes designed for each player, based on a variety of factors. Pochettino uses the examples of Fernandez, Mudryk, and Sterling as three players whose programmes will be quite different.

Fernandez, who joined Chelsea in January for a British club record fee, entered the summer break after a gruelling season in which the 22-year-old midfielder starred in Argentina's World Cup triumph before playing every game for the Blues while also adapting to a new league and country.

"For him it was important now to rest a little bit because he was for one year and a half playing, playing, playing because of the seasons when he moved from Argentina to Portugal and then Portugal to England and the World Cup and he never stopped," Pochettino said.

"He’s young and energetic, but the young also need to rest. He arrived at Chelsea not in the best circumstances for a player that won the World Cup. It’s always difficult because he’s still young and of course he needs to learn about the Premier League. The Premier League is a really tough competition and he changes everything – culture, language, everything – and it is always difficult to adapt.

"But I think now he knows what it means to be a Chelsea player and knows London, and here he is improving to communicate better. I think we are going to help this aspect for him to give the team his best."

Murdyk is the same age as Fernandez and also moved to Chelsea in January but under vastly different circumstances. The winger hadn't played since the end of the Ukrainian league in November and lacked sharpness. As a result, he was limited to seven starts and only completed 90 minutes once.

Chelsea 2023/23 season ratings

However, Mudryk has been building his sharpness this summer having starred for Ukraine at the Under-21 European Championships, helping his team reach the semi-finals.

"I think it’s not the same mindset and everything is different in the life of Mudryk than Enzo. That is why for us it is really important to spend time to talk," Pochettino said.

"We were talking with Mudryk, I’m going to meet him before he comes to start pre-season, because he was in the Under-21 Euros and will join us when we fly to America. I really like to know him to try to decide with the staff the best strategy to help him to be at the level that I think Chelsea expect him to be."

Sterling, meanwhile, represents a different player profile and set of circumstances. The England forward joined Chelsea last summer but struggled to replicate his Manchester City form. The 28-year-old is one of the most experienced players in the Chelsea squad and has proven his ability over several seasons, so for Pochettino it's all about helping Sterling rediscover his best form.

"With Raheem we are talking about a really good player but after the circumstances of landing at a football club that is having some changes, sometimes it is not easy for the player to adapt quick and show the same performance that he maybe had at another club," the Argentine said.

"We cannot blame the player. First of all we need to see what is going on and why they are not performing in the way that we expect and then, when all is clear, we cannot give excuses to them to not perform. We need to clear everything and say: 'come on, now it is up to you, show me you are ready to play for this football club'."

Updated: July 09, 2023, 9:12 AM