Emile Heskey will be stunned if Mauricio Pochettino isn't given time to rebuild Chelsea, who are beginning to show signs of life under the former Tottenham boss.
Chelsea have spent over £1billion in the transfer market in 18 months since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took over, and they have been inconsistent since embarking on another spending spree ahead of Pochettino's first campaign in charge.
After a below-par start under the Argentine, Chelsea have shown encouraging signs in recent weeks, thrashing nine-man Tottenham 4-1 in a remarkable London derby before playing out a thrilling 4-4 draw with Manchester City on Sunday.
That latter game – the first in the Premier League to feature four equalising goals since Liverpool and Arsenal's iconic 4-4 draw in April 2009 – saw Cole Palmer convert a 95th-minute penalty to deny his former club victory.
Chelsea went into the November international break five points adrift of the Premier League's top six, and with the team starting to show positive signs, Heskey believes Boehly will have greater patience with Pochettino than he did with predecessors Graham Potter and Thomas Tuchel.
4 – This is Pep Guardiola's 882nd game as a manager, and the first to see his team both score and concede four goals in a single match. Rollercoaster. pic.twitter.com/gzKwRCDdgp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 12, 2023
"If you haven't negotiated that you need time at Chelsea, a club that was going through so much turmoil at that time, it would be silly," Heskey told Stats Perform.
"I'd be very surprised if he hasn't gone through that with them; 'We need time to actually build this and make sure we've got the time'.
"The reality is that if you look at some of their games, they've battered teams but not won. So there's something else there in play where the confidence of the players to go and finish, they've lost that.
"You can't say that you created 26 chances and not scored. There's something right there because you're creating 26 chances, but something's fundamentally wrong when that composure to finish isn't there.
"That could be with the stadium, the crowd, the tension that comes with that. They've never had it before because you've had all these top forwards who were just banging in goals.
"They were ruthless. They were relentless. Now they haven't got that, they need something.
"They've got players that need an arm around them, and they've got players that are low on confidence. How do you bring them back up?"
𝐂𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐬𝐞𝐚 𝟒-𝟒 𝐌𝐚𝐧 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲
Chelsea silly matches
A Premier League 𝒸𝓁𝒶𝓈𝓈𝒾𝒸 at Stamford Bridge, as former City boy Cole Palmer secured Chelsea a point with a stoppage-time penalty.
You may now breathe… pic.twitter.com/0n32dAWBec
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) November 12, 2023
Chelsea are yet to win a trophy under the Boehly regime, though Pochettino has led them to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup, a competition which appears wide open with City, Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal already being knocked out.
Heskey won that competition four times during his playing career, twice with Leicester City and twice with Liverpool, also finishing on the losing side in another two finals.
While many consider Chelsea among the favourites to win the trophy, Heskey feels they face a tough task in the last eight, adding: "If I look at the next round, they've got Newcastle and that's not an easy job.
"Newcastle are flying at this moment in time. And for me, if I'm Eddie Howe, that's the competition I want to win."