Mauricio Pochettino is pleased to be ending his first season at Stamford Bridge with optimism and positivity – but insists there will be no celebrating a fifth- or sixth-place finish in the Premier League as that 'it's not enough at a club like Chelsea'.

The Argentine's debut campaign at the helm has not been without its challenges, the biggest of which is being without key figures for large spells of the season.

Club captain Reece James and summer signing Christopher Nkunku have been limited to ten league appearances this season, vice-captain Ben Chilwell has made only 13, and several other players have been restricted to just a handful.

Pochettino has had to contend with depleted matchday squads as a result, the most notable of which was when fourteen first-team players were ruled out of our game against Tottenham Hotspur on May 2.

However, over the past Premier League 27 matches, Chelsea's form has been that of a top-four side, with only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool picking up more points in that period.

It means the Blues head into Sunday’s season finale knowing victory or a draw over Bournemouth would be enough to guarantee Europa League or Conference League football next season.

A win over the Cherries and a Tottenham defeat at Sheffield United would secure a fifth-place finish and Europa League qualification, regardless of whether Manchester United win the FA Cup – click here to read more about the possible European ramifications – and Pochettino was asked whether he would be happy with coming fifth.

‘We have spoken as a coaching staff and it’s not enough for us. It’s not enough,’ he replied.

‘We are not going to celebrate and take a picture if we were to finish fifth or sixth position and be in Europe. It’s not enough for the club, not enough for the owners, the sporting directors, the fans, the staff and the players. The objective is always to be on the top.

‘With all the circumstances, there is satisfaction to have turned things from negative to positive and to finish in a good way, with the general opinion being optimistic and positive.

'When you feel that, you need to congratulate and say good job. But it’s not enough at a club like Chelsea, for sure.’

Pochettino rejected the notion that a drastic change – or a specific turning point – had contributed to a change in our fortunes Instead, he used two analogies to explain how foundations had been laid throughout the season and why fans were only now seeing the benefits.

‘We were preparing the land, then we put the seed into the ground, every day we watered it, and then we had to wait for the tree to grow,' he explained.

‘It’s difficult to identify one turning point. In every process, you need time. We always try to be right in our assessment and with how we evolve and develop things with our decisions. It’s a process, so it’s impossible to identify one point that led to a change of things.’

Pochettino continued: ‘The history of the club allowed us to dream and also put pressure on ourselves to perform. We are in a different project and the important thing is that we started building the house with a structure.

‘Step by step we are building the house and we can be very solid in these steps. The way we are building the way to play – and the way we are helping the players be better every day – it is a solid structure we are creating.

‘The most important thing is all the pieces, the people who arrive in the season, adapt to the new era of Chelsea.

‘Football is simple: the coach is the coach, the players are the players, the fans are the fans. Without this it’s difficult. Without the kit man it’s difficult, without the medical staff it’s difficult. We understand we are all important and need to be together.

‘If we are capable to live like this, we are going to be strong for the next few years and will allow us to fight for big things.’