Why does Chelsea’s Mauricio Pochettino keep a box of lemons in his office?

We all know the old saying: “When life gives you lemons, use them to eliminate the negative energy affecting your expensive sports team.”

Actually, it may be something about making lemonade, but Chelsea’s new head coach Mauricio Pochettino believes lemons serve a much bigger purpose.

He keeps a large box of them in his office at the Premier League club’s training ground in Cobham, south of London, having started doing so several years ago on the advice of a friend. This is an expression of his widespread spiritual belief in “Energia Universal”, a higher form of energy that people can connect to and even use if they open their minds.

Lemons have been given a wide range of symbolic and spiritual meanings and utilities in cultures around the world for centuries.

These are considered a sacred fruit in the Hindu faith. Elsewhere, they have been used to ward off evil spirits. And you can also cut them in half and keep them in your refrigerator to avoid unwanted odor. They have been credited with healing and purifying properties, and are also claimed to awaken positive energy, inspiration, personal growth, prosperity, luck, and love. It is not clear at this time whether they can heal serious injuries to muscles or ligaments.

Pochettino adheres to the belief that he can absorb negative energy like a sponge from those around him and even those who visit his office.

He was also known to keep a tray of lemons on his desk while he was manager of Tottenham Hotspur and he would change them every 10 days or sometimes sooner, as they were apparently contaminated with all those bad feelings. Which they had absorbed.

Pochettino talks Conor Gallagher and Levi Colville through their thinking (Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

There has been little evidence of his positive impact in his so far brief Chelsea reign.

The club have won just one of Pochettino’s first six Premier League matches and sit 14th in the 20-team Premier League, while advanced statistics suggest performances have been much better than results. Cobham also have an injury crisis with nine senior players sidelined.

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But when asked during a press conference last week whether this extremely disappointing start to the season – despite owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital paying more than £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in transfer fees for new players last year – has shaken their faith. The power of the lemon, Pochettino remained bullish.

“He started after two years at Tottenham,” he said. “Give the lemon time. This is something we all believe in. If you want good energy, you have to implement everything you believe in.

“I believe in Lemon, but at Tottenham he started working after one and a half, two years. They needed a long time, they are not magic, but more than ever I still believe in them.

“Today in my office, I have yellow, green… different kinds, from Spain, from Italy. I don’t want to lie, there’s a big box of lemons. I always thought that lemon yellow worked much better than lemon green but now I’m a believer in any color – any color can help. If I could get a blue lemon (matching Chelsea’s kit), that would be even better.

In keeping with the philosophical tone of the press conference, journalists present asked whether green lemons were just lemons. However, Pochettino rejected that notion. “Lemon is not lemon,” he insisted. “It’s a brother, maybe with a different mother or a different father.”

A compelling rejoinder, but perhaps the bigger question for Pochettino to consider is whether Chelsea’s owners and supporters can tolerate the bitter taste left by their team’s struggles long enough for his lemons to have their desired effect.

(Top photos: Getty Images)

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