Pep Guardiola gives Chelsea clear Mauricio Pochettino sack verdict

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has backed Mauricio Pochettino to turn his fortunes around and become a success at Chelsea - despite a difficult first season at Stamford Bridge.

The 52-year-old was appointed as manager last summer but has struggled to put together a consistent run of results this season and, as a result, has Chelsea set to miss out on qualification to any of the three European competitions.

Pochettinho, who managed Chelsea's fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur from 2014 to 2019, has also found it difficult to win over sections of the club's fanbase, who booed him in March's 2-2 draw at Brentford.

However, Guardiola has backed Pochettinho to become a success at Stamford Bridge and insisted he is one of the best managers in the Premier League.

"There are so many top managers in England right now and Mauricio is definitely one of them," wrote Guardiola in his FA Cup semi-final programme notes. "Chelsea will become a far better team with him as manager. I have no doubts about that."

Despite his struggles at Stamford Bridge, Pochettinho has refused to walk away from the task and recently insisted he was committed to turning the club's fortunes around after a turbulent few years, both on and off the field.

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“We love a challenge," said Pochettino last month. "The challenge is massive and I come here to accept the project and challenge, knowing it is never easy with the pressure and the feeling that you are Chelsea and you need to win.”

Pochettino, whose contract at Stamford Bridge is valid until 2025, has guided Chelsea to the League Cup final and FA Cup semi-final this season, while the Blues sit 10th in the Premier League table.