Not the end of the world if I leave Chelsea – Pochettino

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Mauricio Pochettino has raised the possibility of walking away from Chelsea at the end of the season and said “it is not going to be the end of the world” if he leaves the club.

Sources have told ESPN that the Chelsea hierarchy are waiting for the Premier League campaign to finish before deciding whether Pochettino should see out the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea have endured a disappointing season but back-to-back Premier League victories over West Ham and Tottenham have put them in seventh place with a chance of salvaging qualification for European football.

At a Friday news conference ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Nottingham Forest, Pochettino revealed he was planning for next season but when asked if that was an indication he would be staying on, the 52-year-old pointed out his voice would also carry weight in conversations over what happens next.

“Look, it is not important,” he said. “The most important thing is to keep going, working if we are all happy, not only the owners happy with us, the sporting directors with us, or us with the organisation the club is building here because then we are all under assessment.

“If we are happy, perfect. But it is not only if the owners are happy or the sporting directors are happy. If we are happy, you need to ask also because we said ‘look maybe we are not happy with certain situations and maybe we are not happy and we need to split.’

“It is not going to be the first time that a coaching staff decide at the end of the season not to keep going. But understand that it is always the opposite way, always the owners or the sporting directors.

“They can say tomorrow ‘until here, we arrive’ or maybe tomorrow I can say ‘look, I want to leave.’ There are two parts who can take a decision. It is not only because Chelsea are not happy, the owners are not happy, the sporting directors are not happy, maybe we are not happy because we arrived here with some job to do but in the end it has not happened what we expect.

“Maybe we are not happy. I don’t say that I am not happy but always it is lacking one side. Maybe the other side say ‘OK, maybe until here’ and we split. It is not a problem. It is not going to be the end of the world.”

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly gave Pochettino public backing this week at a Sportico event in Los Angeles.

“We’ve seen, over the last two and a half games at least — the second half of Aston Villa, Tottenham and West Ham – where we played just beautiful football,” he said. “It was so fluid. It was exactly the way we drew it up.

“The number of shots we had on goal in those two and a half games, you could really start to see what we were working on coming together.”

Responding to those comments, Pochettino said: “He described the reality, no? Yes, I think always Todd was very good with us. Even when there were tough moments, he was always very positive through the message in a private way but being public now.

“If the owner is happy, it is much better. We work for the club, for the fans, for the players but for the owners also.”

Pochettino also said that Chelsea captain Reece James could make his long-awaited return to the pitch on Saturday five months after having surgery on his hamstring.

The defender has made eight appearances in the league this season and last played on Dec. 10 against Everton.

“We need to see today [at training] but maybe he can be available in the squad, yes,” Pochettino said.

“The most important thing is Reece James is going to be there for us. We have an amazing relationship and of course he is an amazing player. “It is not easy when you comeback from a long-term injury.

“The most important thing is he can be available and be part of the squad. It is important to finish [the season] with good feelings.”

Information from Reuters contributed to this report

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