LONDON: Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has left the club by mutual consent after 51 matches in one season at Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino, 52, took charge last July on a two-year contract with the option of a further 12 months.

The Argentinian was under pressure after an underwhelming first half of the season but a run of five successive wins to end the season ensured they finished sixth in the Premier League.

Chelsea were also runners-up in the Carabao Cup and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

In a statement, he said: “Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and sporting directors for the opportunity. The club is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come.”

Chelsea will now search for a successor and have expressed recent interest in Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna, Sporting’s Ruben Amorim and Burnley’s Vincent Kompany.

Pochettino was Chelsea’s sixth permanent manager in five years after the sackings of Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter led to Frank Lampard taking charge on a temporary basis at the end of the 2022-23 season.

Sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: “On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season. He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career.”

Coaches Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jimenez and Sebastiano Pochettino have also left.

Pochettino had been viewed as the man to mould Chelsea into credible title contenders again after their £747m expenditure on transfers during the 2022-23 campaign.

He enjoyed a significant budget, with a further £400m-plus spent on players, including Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson, Moises Caicedo and Christopher Nkunku.

Pochettino, who had led Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2018-19, knew he was in trouble after booing from some sections of the Stamford Bridge crowd this spring during a 2-2 draw with Brentford.

He said: “Maybe if I was a fan, I’d be the same because we are not matching the expectation.”

Pochettino aired concerns about injuries and the composition of his young, inexperienced squad and appeared to win back some support following a 6-0 thrashing of Everton in April and a 5-0 victory against West Ham in May, although Chelsea did fall to a 5-0 loss at Arsenal in between those two results.

Chairman Todd Boehly had called for patience and met the Argentinian on Friday before the final game of the season.

But less was known about the opinions of other senior board members, including most notably, co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali.

Eghbali has been in London with fellow Clearlake Capital co-founder and board member Jose Feliciano since Chelsea won the Women’s Super League on Saturday.