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In the wake of Mauricio Pochettino’s nine-word admission, Enzo Maresca is aware of the top priorities on Chelsea’s agenda.



Chelsea conceded 63 goals in the Premier League last season, the most the Blues have let in throughout the competition’s history, and Enzo Maresca must find a solution to rectify the glaring problem.

When we have bad days, we are so bad,” said Mauricio Pochettino following his Chelsea team’s 5-0 defeat at Arsenal in April.

The truth hurt Chelsea. During the same eight-day period, the Blues defeated Everton 6-0 before losing 5-0 to the eventual Premier League runners-up.

Chelsea’s defence was woefully inadequate in their final 22 games of the season, across all competitions. During that span, the Blues conceded 37 goals, an average of nearly two per game, while holding only three clean sheets.

Injuries didn’t help. Pochettino was obliged to chop and alter his back-line virtually every game since the players were going through a crisis.

The midfielders in front of the back four rarely provided adequate protection for their colleagues. Despite their individual talent, Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo did not work well together. Only in games where Fernandez was out near the conclusion of the season did we see an impressive tandem in Caicedo and Conor Gallagher.

There were also issues at right-back for much of the second part of the season. Malo Gusto performed an excellent job of filling in for the injured Reece James throughout the season, but the young Frenchman was virtually run into the ground by the conclusion of the season.

Marc Cucurella returned to left-back in March, but prior to that, Pochettino was playing a half-fit Ben Chilwell, who struggled to show his best form when he was available during the 2023/24 season. The centre-back partnership also changed too frequently for a duo to develop chemistry.

Too many individual blunders, lapses in attention, poor positioning, and other factors contributed to a very bad defensive season. Chelsea conceded a Premier League record 63 goals this season, eight more than their previous lows of 1994/95 and 1996/97 combined.

To put it into context, Nottingham Forest, who finished 17th, conceded only four more goals than Chelsea. Brentford, who finished 16th, surrendered two further goals.

Enzo Maresca, the soon-to-be Chelsea head coach, will have a lot on his plate when he starts at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps none is more crucial than attempting to fix an extraordinarily leaky defensive line.

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