Mauricio Pochettino said Chelsea must rebuild trust with their fans if they hope to reverse their woeful home form that has seen them win just one of their last 13 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.
That run dates back to a 1-0 win against Leeds in March, since then they have picked up a single home victory against newly promoted Luton in August.
The 2-0 defeat to Brentford on Saturday was their third home loss in six this season, and saw them revert to the hesitant, goal-shy habits that have been a feature during owner Todd Boehly’s 18 months in charge.
At one stage in the first half Pochettino was drawn into a confrontation with a supporter who challenged the contributions of striker Nicolas Jackson, and there was a notable souring of the atmosphere once Brentford took the lead just before the hour mark.
In all there have been just three home league victories in 2023, with the team having failed to score on 10 occasions in all competitions.
“The key is to create a good atmosphere,” said Pochettino. “I think you need to be in the right way with the fans, with the team. The team need to translate to the fans the idea that they can trust them.
“I think it (takes) time. We have many talented players but still they are so young. I’m not talking about the mentality of the club or the badge because Chelsea is about victories and a strong winning mentality.
“The team is young and we need to match this level of capacity to compete always at your best.
“We can talk about Cole Palmer who arrived in the last moments (of the transfer window) who is showing character, taking the responsibility to take penalties. It’s always about getting a good balance.”
Pochettino had 10 first-team players unavailable from the start against Brentford, with the in-form Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez joining a lengthy injury list before kick-off with minor knocks.
Captain Reece James was for the second consecutive game fit only for a late cameo for the bench, whilst Ben Chilwell was also absent.
“Not to complain or make excuses, but we need all the squad fit,” said Pochettino. “We have too many circumstances at the moment where we are competing but we are missing things. When we have all the players fit, I think the team is going to find its balance.
“It’s not easy to build trust (with the fans) and be mature and to accept sometimes that the game is going in a direction that you don’t want.
“You need to be calm in this moment to have the character, to be mature enough and to have the capacity to say ‘we play in (our) way’. You need time. It’s about the maturity that we need to get.”