Mauricio Pochettino has attributed the subdued atmosphere at Stamford Bridge in the 2023-24 season to Chelsea’s lackluster performance under managers Graham Potter and Frank Lampard.
The traditionally intimidating stadium, Stamford Bridge, known for its fervent support and close proximity of the pitch to fans, has faced criticism for a decline in atmosphere.
Pochettino suggests that the disconnect between players and supporters is a result of the Chelsea’s poor home results over the last 18 months, particularly since Graham Potter took over from Thomas Tuchel in September 2022.
Speaking to reporters, Pochettino said: “We have been here for six months and sometimes for us it is difficult to compare. We are getting better results now. But the disappointment for the fans is from last season. It is a disappointment for a long period. But in how we feel, Stamford Bridge is very good. We feel so disappointed from last season because if you lose so many games at home it is normal for the energy to be down.
“In a few periods in some games, like Brentford or Nottingham Forest, the energy was really down because the team didn’t engage the fans. That is our mistake. But in the rest of the games – Arsenal, Man City, Brighton, Liverpool – I think the fans were really good.”
Pochettino asks for Chelsea fans to get behind the team
Chelsea is currently enjoying an eight-match undefeated run at home, and the upcoming Carabao Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough offers a chance to reinvigorate the fans and demonstrate the team’s dedication. Despite being behind by a goal after the first leg, Pochettino suggests that a positive start could inspire the Stamford Bridge crowd to rally more passionately behind their team.
“If tomorrow we play well from the beginning and show the right attitude the fans are going to be behind us,” he said. “We have very good fans. They want to win because the history of Chelsea is to win.”
The Chelsea players received criticism from the away fans after they went directly into the tunnel without acknowledging their supporters at the Riverside Stadium in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final tie.
Although Pochettino apologised on behalf of the team, he defended his players by stating that: “I can understand the players and also the fans. The players were so disappointed. So upset that you don’t want to think too much and you want to go into the dressing room and go home because you are really angry. But we need to recognise the effort of our fans. We need to apologise to our fans.”