Mauricio Pochettino ‘played with reputation’ by joining Chelsea

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino said he risked his reputation by joining the club but believes their supporters are finally ready to consign his Tottenham past to history.

Cole Palmer scored a stoppage-time hat-trick on Thursday night to complete the latest ever Premier league comeback as Chelsea recovered from 3-2 down to beat Manchester United 4-3 with goals in the 100th and 101st minutes sparking jubilant scenes at Stamford Bridge.

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Pochettino celebrated wildly at the final whistle in what he later described as a key moment in his attempts to win over parts of the Chelsea fanbase who were sceptical about his appointment, having spent five-and-a-half years in charge of their bitter London rivals Tottenham.

The 52-year-old admitted he took a gamble in taking the job given both his former employers and the scale of the challenge in redefining Chelsea following their takeover by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.

“I came from a different club and it is normal,”Pochettino said.

“You need to convince [supporters]. I arrived to Chelsea in a different project to what it was in the last 20 years. I play with my reputation to come here also in a project that is to build a team with young players, talented players. Given the possibility, the potential, top players.

“We knew it was a massive challenge to build a team, to win games, to be competitive and to take the risk with the fans. I am not going to be populist.

“I said from the beginning, I want to build a genuine relationship, not to kiss the badge or to do stupid things on the touchline to win the benefit of the fans.

“What I want is to provide to the team the tools to win games and through the trust in the team of winning games, to believe in ourselves and trust to build a very good relationship. I am not here to be populist or a hypocrite and say ‘I love the fans’ because I know it is always about trying to build this relationship.

“Today for me, I am so happy not only for the three points or maybe the performance was better than Manchester United. But for me it is the first time that I start to feel the connection between the team and the fans. That is going to be a really helpful for us in the season. It is really important.”

The win over United took Chelsea up to 10th place on the table, two points behind seventh-placed West Ham with two games in hand.

Qualification for a European competition remains a possibility — an FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City later this month offers an alternative route — and Pochettino believes his side can make it with a perfect run-in, starting with Sunday’s trip to rock bottom Sheffield United.

“Nine games to play still, If we win all the games, for sure we will be in Europe,” Pochettino said.

“For now it is about Sheffield, the most important game.”