We all know the old saying: “When life gives you lemons, use them to eliminate the negative energy affecting your expensive sports team.”
In reality, it may have been a case of making lemonade, but new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino believes lemons serve a much greater purpose.
He keeps a large box of them in his office at the Premier League club’s training ground in Cobham, south London, having started doing so several years ago on the advice of a friend. It is a manifestation of his broader spiritual belief in “universal energy,” a higher form of energy that people can connect to and even harness if they open their minds.
Lemons have been given a wide range of symbolic and spiritual meanings and facilities in cultures around the world over the centuries.
They are considered a sacred fruit in the Hindu religion. In other places, they were used to ward off evil spirits. You can also cut it in half and put it in your refrigerator to help avoid unwanted odors. It has been credited with healing and purifying properties, and is claimed to evoke positive energy, inspiration, personal growth, prosperity, luck, and love. It is not clear at this time whether they can heal serious muscle or ligament injuries.
Pochettino clings to the belief that they can absorb negative energy like a sponge from their surroundings, and even the people who visit his office.
He was also known to keep a tray of lemons on his desk when he was Tottenham Hotspur manager and tended to replace them every 10 days, or sometimes sooner, as they seemed to become tainted with all the bad vibes they had absorbed.
There has been precious little evidence of their positive impact in his short reign at Chelsea so far.
The club have won just once in their first six games under Pochettino in the Premier League and are 14th in the 20-team Premier League despite advanced data suggesting performances have been significantly better than results. There is also an injury crisis at Cobham, with nine senior players sidelined.
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But when asked during a press conference last week whether such a disappointing start to the season — despite owners Todd Buhle and Clearlake Capital committing more than £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in transfer fees for new players over the past year — had shaken his faith in the power of lemons. Pochettino remained optimistic.
“They started working after two years at Tottenham,” he said. “Give time to lemon. It is something we all believe in. If you want to have good energy, you need to implement all the things you believe in.
“I believe in lemons, but at Tottenham they started working after a year and a half or two years. They need a long time, they are not magic, but I still believe in them more than ever.
“Today in my office, I have yellow and green types…different types, from Spain, from Italy. I’m not going to lie, there’s a big can of lemons. I’ve always thought lemon yellow worked much better than green, but now I believe any color – any color can help. If you can get a blue lemon (to match the Chelsea kit), that would be even better.
In keeping with the philosophical tone of the press conference, journalists present wondered whether a green lemon was just a lemon. But Pochettino rejected this idea. “A lemon is not a lemon,” he insisted. “He’s a brother, maybe from a different mother or a different father.”
It was a convincing response, but perhaps the bigger question for Pochettino to consider is whether Chelsea’s owners and supporters can bear the bitter taste of his team’s travails long enough for the lemons to have the desired effect.
(Top images: Getty Images)
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