Sterling: Chelsea needed Pochettino last season

Raheem Sterling believes Mauricio Pochettino would have improved Chelsea had he been in charge last season.

The Blues endured a miserable campaign in which Thomas Tuchel was sacked and results were poor during Graham Potter and Frank Lampard’s short-term spells at the helm.

New head coach Pochettino will hope to fare better – and Sterling says the former Tottenham boss can make a big difference.

Sterling said: “When I first heard he was going to be manager I thought it was exciting, because very the many years we have played against his teams I know how difficult it is to play against his teams.

“They are always resilient and tough to play against and I knew he was a coach that can bring what we needed at certain times last year.

“To have someone like him to lead us in certain difficult situations would have been good, so I was really optimistic of what he would bring.”

Meanwhile, Pochettino has insisted that Chelsea are working hard to make more signings ahead of the new season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed a move to Marseille on Friday, continuing an exodus of players out of the club this summer.

The likes of Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi also look likely to move on as part of an overhaul at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea will also be without Wesley Fofana for several months as the defender recovers after surgery to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

The need for reinforcements is therefore obvious.

“We need to improve the squad and team and we are working on that,” Pochettino said.

“It is clear that any coach would want to close the squad as soon as possible. If it’s possible, yes bring the player here to the USA. If not, it’s not a problem.

“I’m happy with how we are working in this process to improve the squad. The sporting directors, the board, are working so hard to bring the right people and right people and profile to the squad. I’m so happy with the way they are working.”

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the pre-season friendly against Brighton in Philadelphia, Pochettino reiterated that decisions will soon be taken on the futures of several of the club’s young players.

“It’s good to get to know all the players and we have young players and they need to show big quality. They might not be for today but they have a big future,” he said.