Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes to remain at club next season

Blues face Brighton in Premier League as they target European qualification

Mauricio Pochettino's Chelsea side beat Nottingham Forest on Saturday, their third straight victory in the Premier League. Getty Images
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Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has said he hopes to be in charge of the London club next season as they set their sights on European football next term.

The Londoners, who are currently seventh in the Premier League, take on Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton at the Amex Stadium tonight before facing Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on the last day of the season on Sunday.

The Blues can still qualify for the Europa League or Europa Conference League, depending on Manchester United’s final league position and whether or not they win the FA Cup. Erik ten Hag's team – currently eighth – meet sixth-place Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Tuesday before travelling to Brighton on Sunday.

Pochettino caused speculation about his future last week when he said it would not be the “end of the world” if he left in the summer and that his position would be decided one way or the other by the end of the next week.

Chelsea came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 at the City Ground on Saturday and continue their late surge for European qualification. It was their third straight victory in the league.

And before the clash with Brighton, Pochettino revealed that he is already planning for next season.

He said on Tuesday: “We are planning, we are working. Some comments from my side have been put in a negative way. But I never said I am not thinking of the future. We are thinking of the future – it is already planned.

“The plan is there to start the pre-season – and then it is not in my hands to be here or not to be here.

“To finish in a positive way is important. To prepare for the next season, if we are able to finish well and get into Europe, for sure we can start the next season with hope to be in a better position than we were in this season.”

Asked about his first season at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino said: “I really enjoy it. We are much better now, with the coaching staff. When you win games you enjoy more. When you have the problems that we have had this season, the proof is if you have the capacity to deal with this and these circumstances.

“Over the whole season I have kept my mood, always smiling, always positive, even when the team had 14 players out because of injuries. It is hard to be positive in this situation, that is natural.

“It has been a very difficult season for everyone. To build a new project is always a tough situation – you need patience and time.”

On European qualification, he added: “It is important to keep a strong mentality and really believe that we can get [into Europe].

“It is true that it is going to be two really tough games because tomorrow against Brighton is a really good team and they are going to be really tough to play against, and then [we have] Bournemouth at home [on the final day].

“The most important thing is to believe. If we can compete well in the last two games then we have the possibility to get into Europe, which would be amazing for us.”

Updated: May 14, 2024, 2:57 PM