Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea future ‘in the balance’ after Arsenal drubbing | Football

The Argentine is under pressure to secure European football (Picture: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino is facing an uncertain future at Chelsea with the club’s hierarchy ready to consider their options if the side fail to qualify for Europe, according to reports.

The west Londoners have had an indifferent campaign and are currently marooned in ninth place in the Premier League table following a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal on Tuesday night.

There had been cause for optimism around Stamford Bridge after a run of eight games without defeat in the league, but back-to-back losses in the FA Cup against Manchester City and then their mauling at the Emirates has changed the mood.

According to The Times, there is now ‘fresh doubt’ over whether Pochettino is the long-term answer at Chelsea and he will need to finish the campaign strongly to solidify his position.

The club will review Pochettino’s position in the summer but it is now felt that European qualification will be imperative to his hopes of surviving.

Chelsea’s decision-makers will also assess the mood within the squad and any hint of the players giving up following their FA Cup exit will reflect very badly on the Argentine manager, with some already feeling he is too soft on the club’s underperforming stars.

The problem for Pochettino is that Chelsea’s FA Cup elimination at the weekend means their only chance of securing European football for next season now comes via their league placing.

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino cut a forlorn figure at the Emirates on Tuesday (Picture: AP)

As things stand, Chelsea are just three points adrift of sixth-placed Newcastle – who are level on 50 points with Manchester United – in what is the last automatic European berth.

If the Red Devils finish outside the top six but win the FA Cup, then they will be awarded a spot in the Europa League, with the Europa Conference League berth going to the team in sixth – otherwise, it goes to the team in seventh.

But Chelsea face some difficult tests before the end of the season, with away matches against Aston Villa, relegation-battling Nottingham Forest and Brighton as well as home ties against Tottenham, West Ham and Bournemouth.

While Pochettino will be given until the end of the season, thoughts have already turned towards who might replace him if the campaign peters out.

Sporting boss Ruben Amorim is of interest, though there are suggestions in Portugal he could commit to staying in Lisbon for another season after seemingly being overlooked by Liverpool while talks with West Ham have not progressed.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi is also well liked, though the cost of signing him – thought to be more than £15million – could prove prohibitive.

Hansi Flick is another name linked with the role, though he is not thought to be keen, and the dearth of available, top-quality managers – coupled with competition from other clubs this summer – could work in Pochettino’s favour.

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