Mauricio Pochettino said club bosses must be “clever” enough to ignore abuse directed at footballers and managers via social media after Reece James revealed that he had been targeted online after undergoing surgery.
The Chelsea captain wrote on his Instagram account on Thursday that he had received “significantly more hate and negativity” since sustaining the hamstring injury that forced him off during the team’s 2-0 defeat to Everton.
It is the second significant injury the 24-year-old has suffered this season, having also missed a large part of the last campaign, with Pochettino indicating a lay-off of “several weeks” possibly stretching to months.
Former Chelsea manager Graham Potter last season gave an alarming account of the abuse directed at him whilst he was in charge, which included emailed threats made against his family.
And Pochettino said that he too had been targeted, albeit to a lesser extent, after matches this season.
The Argentinian, who takes his team to Molineux to face Wolves on Christmas Eve, said: “We are really exposed. Today it’s so easy to try to damage people.
“It’s so easy to write things. It’s very fashionable to speak badly.
“What makes me sad is not the social media, the people that have access to write this negativity. What makes me sad is that the people that are involved in this business pay attention.
“No one is going to damage me. Maybe (club colleagues) can damage me with words. When I have appreciation and respect for someone and they say something, of course it makes me think.
“But if I go on social media and someone abuses me? I don’t care. It’s not going to change my mood or my way to see things. When we lose games I receive abuse on social media, I receive SMS (messages), WhatsApps, emails that I never open. Not too many. A few.
“It makes me sad for the people that are involved.
“If I am a coach, am I going to make a decision (based on) what the people think about this? If there is an owner that follows social media and says ‘that changed my view’, I say ‘come on’.
“People that manage this business need to be clever, and to be clever means to trust in the people that you have. I need to trust in my owner, I need to trust in my sporting director.”
Chelsea are seeking a third consecutive win in all competitions for only the second time since March when they take on Gary O’Neil’s side, having defeated Sheffield United in their last Premier League outing and edged past Newcastle on penalties to set up a Carabao Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough.
After Tuesday’s cup win, substitutes and unused players joined the celebrations – a sign, thinks Pochettino, that his young side are maturing.
“It’s about giving them the possibility to take decisions and be treated like men,” he said. “They are mature enough.
“You provide the capacity for them to decide if they want to be or not. Whoever doesn’t want to be here is open to (leave). It is about creating a natural environment where everyone is going to be strong.
“If you want to belong to the group, you have the opportunity.”