Given everything that has happened off and on the pitch this season, have you had a more challenging season as a coach?
“No, that might make it high on the list of seasons we’ve had. I don’t judge seasons like this because right now and while you’re doing it as a manager, it always feels challenging and always feels demanding. I’m not judging it as if it were more sophisticated.
“In that moment you adapt to the situation – or you try to adapt – and you try to find solutions and it’s always a challenge. It can be because of results, the atmosphere in the dressing room, crazy things like sanctions that no one could predict or ever think of.
CONTINUE READING: Antonio Rudiger confirms Chelsea’s exit in impassioned statement detailing the contract hiatus
“It was very challenging, but at the same time demanding, but it was also a lot of fun. It’s such a joy to be right in the middle and still have the chance to lead and be a part of the team. So it’s ok. We’re always trying to adapt and find solutions.”
Home form has been disappointing this season, what needs to change to change that?
“Obviously I think we can do better. I think it’s not a lot; it’s margins. We’re going to investigate that – it’s not the moment that I’ve analyzed everything and I don’t have an answer because we are We’ve changed it before: we fight with efficiency, with goal records, with consistency, with determination, with precision in the penalty area against teams that defend deeply.
“It’s like that, but with N’Golo (Kante), Ben Chilwell, Reece James, we’re missing tremendous quality [being injured]. If you see him over the past few weeks, it’s perhaps a wonder that we’ve been in the top three all season without these key players because we’ve been missing them for weeks and weeks and it’s never stopped for us.
“Maybe that just needs to change we have everyone available. But the top teams, Liverpool bought a fantastic player (Luis Diaz) in the winter to bolster the existing squad. Man City already have (Erling) Haaland obliged to make the existing one.” squad stronger. We’re losing players, so right now my focus is on building a strong team and seeing what’s even possible and then we’ll think about how to close the gap.”
The fans put up a banner for you ahead of the Leicester game, are you really proud of that?
“I was very lucky – I never had a banner. I was looking at the Mason Mount banner until someone told me there was another banner on the other side [for me]. So very kind and thank you and I will do my best to deserve it.”
I don’t think Todd Boehly saw Chelsea win a game…
“Was he here again? [against Leicester]? Well, that’s a clear sign! He will be watching on ESPN in Los Angeles next season. It’s already clear. If that’s the case, then it’s clear.”
Could that actually help you when it comes to speaking to him about investing in the squad you need?
“Yes, but I don’t know. We will be very open and honest. He will understand my point of view if he wants it. Of course we are losing important players and we are struggling to win our home games lately. He was too at the final at Wembley. So once the deal is done and he’s our owner, maybe he’s the good luck charm we need. We’ll give him more credit.”
You mentioned a few weeks ago that you needed to have an honest conversation with Kepa Arrizabalaga about his future, did you have that conversation and where do you see his future?
“It depends on what he wants and what his plans are, but I know we are very privileged to have Edou (Mendy) and Kepa in our squad. I know for sure that Kepa is not happy about the situation and he deserves to play more and he can be a strong number one.
“He arrived as the number one goalkeeper so the situation isn’t easy. I can tell you he’s been a fantastic team player since day one and always has been and doesn’t let anyone down. So no, we didn’t have that conversation . I know.” the goalkeeping coaches are having these talks right now and then we take the time to talk to him, to think about what’s best, what the possibilities are, and as a coach I’m obviously super happy to have both strong goalkeepers. Let’s see .”
You talked about the influence of N’Golo Kante, is Reece James one of those players for Chelsea?
“Given the history of N’Golo and the titles and what he’s done over the years and with the national team, not all the success yet. He (James) has everything it takes to be one of the best, but there’s a long way to go for Reece.
“There’s incredible potential and he has the ability, the foundation, the body, the physique and the mindset to get to the top, but there’s still a long way to go. We will support him. We will put pressure on him so that he can be that player for Chelsea.”
Roy Hodgson will retire after Sunday’s game after a long career. Do you see yourself as a coach at a similar age as him, 74 years old? Maybe you’re already feeling that age after this season…
“I don’t feel that old – and he doesn’t look that old. I’m happy to see him again. I met him once before we played each other. I met him in a round here in London to see the performance discuss.” was very nice I was coach of Dortmund at the time I think and he was very impressive, super friendly, a gentleman and very open in sharing his perspectives and opinions.
“It’s nice to be on the sidelines with him. If it’s his last game then he deserves full credit for his career and it’s impressive that at this age he still has the energy and commitment and love for it game. I think it can happen to me, to be perfectly honest, but we’ll see.”
You still love football in 26 years?
“I’m pretty sure, I’m pretty sure.”