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Chelsea have already confirmed new man on touchline next season who Pochettino vetoed

Chelsea’s decision to hire a set-piece specialist has been credited as one of the reasons Mauricio Pochettino walked away from his post as boss. The Argentine’s departure from Stamford Bridge was confirmed on Tuesday evening, following reports his relationship with the Blues hierarchy had grown untenable.

Less than one year after Pochettino was welcomed through the Chelsea door, the ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint Germain manager was walking back out of it.

Despite a bumpy season, the two-time Champions League winners secured European qualification on the final day of the campaign, but it wasn’t enough for Pochettino to be kept on for another year.

While his departure has raised concerns about Chelsea’s next managerial appointment – their fourth permanent boss of the Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali era – it has at least saved Pochettino some face.

That’s because, according to The Telegraph, Pochettino had been dismissive of bringing in a new set-piece specialist for next season – something the Chelsea hierarchy proceeded to go ahead with anyway.

Bernardo Cueva – a former statistician at Premier League rivals Brentford – is set to join Chelsea in the coming weeks. Not only that, but Cueva will also head a new-look set-piece department at Chelsea, as the board continue to reconfigure the Blues’ off-field approach.

It’s suggested details like the introduction of a set-piece department – something which strips responsibility away from the manager and his staff – led to frustrations from Pochettino’s end.

Cueva is expected to be in the technical area conducting set-pieces, as we have seen at Arsenal this season.

The 52-year-old’s philosophy around the game flies in the face of the culture Boehly and Co. are trying to implement at the west London outfit, with Pochettino favouring a holistic approach, compared to Clearlake Capital’s data-driven methods.

Regardless, Chelsea’s task now switches to finding a head coach who is content with working as part of a system, as opposed to leading one themselves.

It has already been reported that Chelsea have no intention to return for Thomas Tuchel, Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte, with yet another fresh start expected this summer.

Instead, a ‘younger’ and more ‘progressive’ coach is expected to be targeted, with the likes of Sebastian Hoeness, Michel and Kieran McKenna emerging as early front-runners, along with Brentford man Thomas Frank.

The search for their next manager will be undertaken by sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, with the Chelsea board in agreement that the recruitment process ought to be completed before the non-international players report for pre-season training on July 4th.


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