Merse astonished by Poch exit | Who will Chelsea turn to next?

Sky Sports’ Paul Merson says he is stunned Mauricio Pochettino has left Chelsea by mutual consent.

The west London club announced Pochettino’s departure on Tuesday, eight days short of a year after it was announced he would take charge at Stamford Bridge on a two-year contract.

The 52-year-old led a youthful Blues side to the Carabao Cup final and FA Cup semi-finals and, despite a season largely of struggles, ended the Premier League campaign with five successive wins to secure European football with a sixth-place finish.

“I cannot believe he’s gone. Who is making these decisions?,” said Merson, visibly astounded at the news.

“How are you going to replace a manager like him? He’s just got this team playing. Finished sixth, got into Europe. It’s madness.

“I cannot believe what I’m hearing.”

Chelsea are now searching for their fourth permanent manager since Todd Boehly’s takeover at the club two years ago.

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How Chelsea players reacted…

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Nicolas Jackson, Marc Cucurella and Cole Palmer give their reaction to the news that Mauricio Pochettino is leaving Chelsea

Striker Nicolas Jackson appeared to disagree with Pochettino’s exit, posting a facepalm emoji and adding: “Love you coach. Wish we could stay together more.

“But may God continue to bless you and your family. Thanks for the advices and support, you’re a true lion and a fighter, wish you all the best.”

Nicolas Jackson reacted to Mauricio Pochettino's exit with two 'facepalm' emojis.
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Nicolas Jackson reacted to Mauricio Pochettino’s exit with two ‘facepalm’ emojis.

Marc Cucurella posted several shocked-face emojis to his post which read: “Thank you for everything Mister. Good luck in the future.”

Cole Palmer said: “Gaffer, thank you for everything you have done for me and making my dreams come true. All the best.”

Cole Palmer thanked Mauricio Pochettino for "making my dreams come true".
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Cole Palmer thanked Mauricio Pochettino for “making my dreams come true”.

Chelsea legend John Terry said he was “gutted” with the decision and hoped the club wouldn’t sign any players “until we get a manager in”.

John Terry reacted to Mauricio Pochettino's exit on Instagram.
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John Terry reacted to Mauricio Pochettino’s exit on Instagram.

‘History repeating itself as Pochettino departs’

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Sky Sports News understands Mauricio Pochettino has left Chelsea by mutual agreement, but why is the Argentine leaving?

Sky Sports’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

“We all know Mauricio Pochettino had quite a difficult season at Stamford Bridge, but it appeared as though things had changed. Results had got much better, the fans felt a connection with him, and the team.

“But the season ended and Mauricio had a meeting with the two sporting directors at Chelsea, and they decided after talks to sleep on it. But ultimately, both sides felt that going forward they couldn’t make it work, they were on different paths.

“Pochettino revealed he had dinner with Todd Boehly recently and that had gone well, but behind the scenes there has been some doubt. Chelsea are such a big club, politically there is a lot going on.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Chelsea and Bournemouth

“Chelsea believe they are a Champions League club. For a variety of reasons, they’ve not met that target. There are no hard feelings between the owners and Mauricio Pochettino, the players like him, and fans like him too.

“It’s a job that takes time. Chelsea managers don’t get a lot of time and it seems like history is repeating itself under the new ownership.”

So who next for Chelsea?

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Kaveh Solhekol reveals that out of respect for departing manager Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea haven’t approached any potential replacements and their search for a new manager is only just commencing

Sky Sports’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

“The likes of Thomas Tuchel, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte are not being considered. They want a dynamic coach to work within a structure that is settled and bedded in.

“Kieran McKenna has done such a fantastic job at Ipswich. The only thing I would say there is that he doesn’t have Premier League or Champions League experience.

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Kieran McKenna says speculation linking him with the vacant Chelsea and Brighton jobs is not his focus after leading Ipswich Town to the Premier League

“Sebastian Hoeness has done such a great job at Stuttgart, who finished above Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, is a candidate.

“Another name that’s been mentioned to me a lot is Thomas Frank. He ticks a lot of boxes for Chelsea and I think he will be a candidate as well. If you go through the criteria of the kind of head coach they are looking for, he fits the bill.

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Gary O’Neil and Rob Edwards are amongst the managers giving their reaction to the new that Mauricio Pochettino has left Chelsea

“Another name that’s been mentioned is Michel at Girona. Enzo Maresca is a possibility, but not a name that’s been mentioned to me. Ruben Amorim at Sporting was linked with the Liverpool and West Ham jobs, but again, I’ve not heard anything about him.

“I’m being steered away from Roberto De Zerbi and it’s a definite no for Vincent Kompany. He was on the final shortlist to become Chelsea head coach last summer, but I’m being told this time around, he is not going to be a candidate.”

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