In an exclusive interview with Get French Football News, former Chelsea player Marcel Desailly addressed the club’s recent struggles and advised Mauricio Pochettino to “adapt to his players.”
Your former club Chelsea are struggling a little despite spending a billion pounds. How do you see the club right now?
It’s strange because you can’t criticise people who have succeeded professionally and who have decided to invest – they have consulted the board, they have had dozens of meetings for each player whom they bring in, to adapt them to the philosophy, to the future needs of the club in relation to the player’s potential. So it’s very hard to criticize. The only thing that I’d say though is that it is an error of communication. They are carried away by the potential that each player that they’ve bought has, because they’ve forgotten about one element, knowing that to play football at the highest level, to attain what we call in French “la culture de la gagne” – the winning mentality – you need experience – nascent talent is never enough to presume immediate performance. And that’s the only thing where I’d say they’ve made a mistake, where they keep thinking, with the coach Pochettino, “No, this year we’ll be title challengers with the team that we have”.
Right from the start of the season, you could see that they can’t be title challengers – it was obvious. But they have put together players of great potential and have positioned themselves in terms of “business” – because if they didn’t buy the players now for a little above value, they wouldn’t have been able to buy them later. So the only thing is they need to know how to educate the supporters by telling them “Hang on – we’re going to have a year or two of transition but after that – wow – we’ve built up enormous potential”.
But the fans and the media don’t want to hear that – they’ve seen the investment, they want immediate results. But that’s what I think of Chelsea’s idea – Pochettino isn’t a coach who has built up his philosophy like a Mourinho, a Tuchel – he’s a coach who needs to coach top players, top teams. And now he needs to rethink all his coaching to adapt to players who are in theory at a very high level but for whom you need to recreate the basic foundations of play.