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Name Gus Poyet
Gender Male
Ethnic Uruguayan
Job Uruguayan Footballer
  Uruguayan Football Coach
Desc Before the riches of Roman Abramovich flooded into Chelsea, an eclectic band of footballers had already been assembled and Gus Poyet was one of their notable free transfer successes. The Uruguayan midfielder was part of the Blues team which won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1998 and the FA Cup in 2000, earning a special place in the hearts of fans with his goalscoring prowess from midfield

Affiliation

Org Uruguay National Team
Club as Coach Sunderland
Club as Player Chelsea FC
  Real Zaragoza

2015 11 28 Retrieve

[on Roy Keane] Some remember Roy for the bad things he did, but he was so influential. Wow. Manchester United were a totally different team without him

2016 02 14 Retrieve

[On Gianfranco Zola] The best I ever played with, no doubt. I used to marvel at him in training each day. Gianfranco made you a better player: he knew what I was going to do before I’d even thought of it

2016 02 17 Retrieve

[Quotes on Marcel Desailly] The Rock’ was amazing. He was a nutcase, a winner and he came from a brilliant Milan side with a winning mentality, which we appreciated at Chelsea

2016 02 17 Retrieve

[Quotes on Marcel Desailly] The Rock’ was amazing. He was a nutcase, a winner and he came from a brilliant Milan side with a winning mentality, which we appreciated at Chelsea

2016 09 14 Retrieve

[Quotes on Luis Suarez] Luis left Uruguay and moved to Dutch football, which has certain significance at a world-wide level, but his move to Liverpool put him on a higher level than many. Today he is playing a part in one of the most important trios in football history. That makes him very special. In England, he did good things in his first year, but his second year, he was unique

2016 10 28 Retrieve

[Quote on Ruud Gullit the manager] A relaxed, open and easygoing person who liked beautiful football. He always gave others confidence to perform well

2017 11 18 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet sings the praises of Chelsea and France midfielder N’Golo Kante] He’s easily the best central midfielder in the world. Easily. He would play in a World XI, no doubt. I know there are players like Casemiro, Sergio Busquets but he’s better than them. He knows the game, when to stay, when to run and how to run well. He reads it so well he knows what is going to happen before he gets there. That way he controls it with his incredible power and finesse. Normally players like that aren’t as good on the ball as Kante is. It’s incredible that he went to Leicester and nobody saw him until they won the league! You do what you do, managers do what they do but how didn’t any scouts see him?

2019 09 27 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet defends Pochettino’s side] I think it’s normal. They got to the Champions League final last year and were close to the biggest trophy. Everybody was looking at Tottenham during the summer expecting those big players to come because of the previous two transfer windows not signing any players, and as a consequence the team didn’t start very well. But it’s happening everywhere.

I like to watch football not only in England, but in Spain and France too, and Paris Saint-Germain are not great – in the league they’ve lost two games already! The same is happening for Real Madrid and Barcelona, and of course at Manchester United. When you’re winning nobody pays attention but as soon as you don’t, or you have a result like against Colchester, the difficult questions start for coaches in the press conferences

[Poyet feels the 27-year-old should be given a break in an effort to realign his focus] I think it’s going to happen. I think they’ve got the squad and the way of playing, it’s just a matter of picking the players who are better at the moment. Sometimes players go through bad times and difficult moments for whatever reason, and it looks to me like Eriksen, one of the best players at Spurs, is not having a great time at the moment. It’s a big decision to make, but you’ve got two options; you give him confidence he needs and you play him week in, week out, or you give him one week to go to Dubai and forget about football. But Mauricio knows his players well, so I’m sure he will make the right decision

2019 10 17 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet is on the hunt for a new job and has given an insight into his life as a manager] I had a phone call the other day from a club that was struggling and the guy started explaining to me the situation. Their coach was still there, it shouldn’t happen but it does happen. It feels awful to talk to someone when you know someone else is in a job but you know the same thing has happened to you in the past. You get sacked and 12 hours later there is a new coach. They explained: ‘we have a coach we respect him but we need to make another plan’. I ask them a question: ‘what’s your aim?’ Depending on the answer, I am interested in it or not. If the team is doing really bad and the aim should simply be survival and then he says ‘top 10’, I would say ‘no thanks’. I am not interested because that’s not realistic

I try to measure the quality of the job by being realistic. When I see something that is not going in the same way that we discussed, then it is not going to work. 90 per cent of the time I kept quiet about these expectations in the job and it didn’t work. In Bordeaux, I decided to say it. Nothing else. I didn’t want to be problematic. People just usually don’t know what’s going on in the manager’s head. If you go and get sacked, you get a payout with a confidentiality clause not to talk. So now people will never know. I went to that press conference to say the truth. I had a few meetings with people from clubs in the last couple of years and they ask me the same question about Bordeaux. ‘What happened here?’ I say, ‘why?’ They point to the reports. I say ‘that’s not true’. I am looking for a chairman or president who I can work with. That’s more important than the name of the club. I think when we were young, I would look at the name and say ‘I want to play for this club’. Not anymore

I think in France they weren’t used to a person like me. I accept that because I am this kind of person. It is easier to put something in the paper that is more negative than positive. When you open newspapers nowadays, the main news is bad. You see it in Brexit and football is becoming the same. We talk [Mauricio] Pochettino, Marco Silva and [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer ahead of [Jurgen] Klopp, Bournemouth being brilliant or Leicester’s great football. The good things don’t sell and it can be unfair and hard.

In any job you should set up a goal and decide how you do it. It is then up to me to deliver. I am 51 but I look 70. If you don’t say the truth then no one will say it. At Brighton they wanted me to get up [promoted] because they were moving to the Amex Stadium. Up! I sat down with Sunderland. One point in the last seven games. They said ‘get us safe’. We did it. I went to AEK Athens. We were 17 points behind Olympiakos. The league was impossible but they wanted us to finish second and a goal was to stop them going unbeaten. We beat them 1-0 and finished second. I admit Betis didn’t work for me. I take it. It was me and I didn’t do the right research. I can’t blame anyone. It didn’t work

China is different and Bordeaux was an exception. People want to label you over the bad things. I am taking my time and I am not jumping into any job. My idea is to come back here to the UK

I saw that other top teams like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and AC Milan had important ex-players as either the manager or coaches around the team. It was around the time Chelsea had [Carlo] Ancelotti, who was a fantastic coach but he didn’t have Chelsea players around him as a core. I met some of the board and chairman at the time. They were listening to me and I think they thought I wanted a coaching role. That wasn’t my idea. My idea was to see more ex-players around at Cobham. I am sure it wasn’t down to me but it was great that Chelsea started bringing people back

It was very strange for the time. We had an English goalkeeper, a Russian, Italians, Norwegians and Uruguay. Everything. We needed each other. We were away from home. Some of us were away from our families. We needed it. We had a leader in Dennis Wise, who was a strong character. The more the players grew up, the more they brought that strength of character. Look at Marcel Desailly. The first time in Premier League history we played without an English player and I was the captain in the game against Southampton.

I remember going out and saying ‘what’s happening?’ They told me: ‘we are playing for the first time ever without any Englishmen’. The reaction of us was that ‘we must win’. We are going to get hammered if we don’t. We did win. That was a turning point for football in England. That togetherness and understanding of what we needed to do was very good, when the top teams began to have individual rooms in hotels.

Me and Dan Petrescu preferred to stay together because that was our moment to hang out and talk about football. If you are on your own, you would have a day-and-a-half on your own. We were all very good friends and that made it much easier to play. I am still friends with Dan, Roberto Di Matteo, Gianfranco Zola and Carlo Cudicini. I meet with Desailly in France or Chapi Ferrer in Spain. It was good for us to play together against Real Madrid [in a legends match]. I saw Frank Sinclair and Danny Granville, who played in my first Chelsea team. It was a good time and we have a connection without always seeing each other. I still see Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who was there at the end of my time at Chelsea

2019 10 18 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet says Mason Mount has all the qualities to become a leading light at Stamford Bridge] He has the technique to finish, we all know that. We didn’t know if he could do it week in, week out in the Premier League. The defenders are better, they read the game better and taking chances is more important. I like his understanding of how and when to get into position. Can you coach that? No. It’s all about timing your moment. The ball goes one way and you have to guess where it will be. He always gets into those positions and it’s not easy. People need to understand that it isn’t luck.

I like a lot of the youngsters. It’s easy to look at Tammy Abraham because he’s scored so many goals, but I look at Mount because of the position he plays – a midfielder who arrives late and scores goals. He’s similar to Frank and me. Mount has the personality, despite being young, to be a very important player in midfield. He accepts responsibility, he listens to what’s needed and he’s a leader in the first press. He recovered a few balls, he’s scored a few and he won a penalty from pressing, too. He has the mentality that Frank wants, he goes and produces. People sometimes only look at goals but not at the first line of the press or the aggression or the understanding. I like the way he finds positions around the box as well

I’m pleased for all of them that they’ve accepted the challenge. Opportunities like this haven’t happened at Chelsea for 15 years. We always had good players coming up – even [Romelu] Lukaku was playing in the reserves. I went to see him when he was 17 but Chelsea made it so that he had to leave to have a career. Most young players were coming in and then going out on loan. This group has the opportunity but it doesn’t mean they’ll make it. I hope they stay grounded

2019 10 18b Retrieve

[Gus Poyet says Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea squad only need one or two ‘specific’ signings to take them to the next level] I think Chelsea’s start has been very strong. Lampard knew the club inside out and he knew the youngsters from his time at Derby, either from having them on loan or playing against them. It gave him extra experience going into the job.

If an outsider arrived in the summer they might have thought ‘there are too many youngsters’, but Lampard knew what he was getting in to. Even after taking a big hit in losing to Man Utd, he stayed calm, he kept playing them. He knew that the team was going to get better, but I’m also sure he knows what he is still missing. In the next few transfer windows, he’ll know exactly who he needs to buy. It won’t be five players, it’ll be something very specific.

That’s what the club needs to aim for. When clubs go into the transfer market and buy too many – look at what’s being said about Man Utd – then there is something really wrong. If you need to buy five players, something is wrong. When you’re able to just make one or two changes then you can get exactly what you’re missing. Liverpool knew what they were going to get [with Virgil van Dijk]. If you don’t do it like that it’s a nightmare because you keep changing. What I see at Chelsea now, I like

It was always difficult for young kids to come through. As soon as you did, Chelsea would buy a better player and that stops your growth. But now, Frank, Jody Morris and Petr Cech give the supporters a feeling that ‘this is Chelsea’. You don’t always need to have an ex-player as a manager but it’s important for this current team. The transfer ban has led to a change of identity – that’s never happened before.

It wouldn’t be as easy to explain this change to the fans without the core of ex-players around. They listen to their manager. The fans wouldn’t listen to anyone from the outside, they’d think they were making excuses. It was a great decision from the board to bring Frank back – especially with Jody Morris for company. I like to see this new Chelsea in the process of getting better with a young and energetic team. It’s different from what we’re used to

[Indeed, despite the transfer ban, he believes his former club should be targeting Champions League football again next season] I thought they should aim for the top six at the start of the season. Looking at the league now, they should aim for the top four. I have no doubts about that

2019 10 24 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet believes Barcelona fans are once again seeing the best of Luis Suarez following the return of Lionel Messi, insisting that it would be foolish to write off his compatriot] You can never write off Suarez. The key for me was how in the summer he said: ‘maybe Barcelona needs another striker’. He knew you can’t only count on Suarez. He is very calm and a family man. He knows himself better than anyone. It was a matter of waiting and having Messi back. People forget that in the bad spell, Messi wasn’t playing. Messi… not me but Messi! So that special connection was gone. He makes space for him. If you watch the overhead-kick [Suarez goal against Sevilla], it is extraordinary.

If you see the other centre-half, he is looking at Messi on the edge of the box and gives space and freedom for Suarez. People ask me: ‘do you want to manage your national team?’ I say: ‘of course’, even though we have a manager doing very well, El Maestro [Oscar Tabarez]. It would be a shame for me to manage them after Luis Suarez retires. That’s football. I would never worry about Suarez’s form. He is a team player, a fighter. He will always give you the maximum from the first minute to the last. I hope he retires at Barca. I think he would like that. He could leave for another country as well but he is a family man. Family comes first

[Cavani is set for a pivotal campaign as his Paris Saint-Germain contract enters its final year] I admire Cavani a lot. He’s one of the best strikers we have ever had in Uruguay. He has taken different roles because of who he has played with. On the wings, he did it and did it very well. He never complained. I always thought he needs to be a number nine. He could be extraordinary. He found that in Paris and he was so important for them. I thought that he is more popular at PSG than Neymar. I thought it even more after my time in Bordeaux. They like him more, that says something. Now he is at the end of his contract. It will be interesting to see his decision in the future. He will have a lot of offers from top teams. It is a life decision; let’s see what he decides

2019 10 25 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet is baffled by the critics of Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, insisting that he can’t understand why he is viewed in a negative light by some given what he’s achieved for the club] We talk about Bale. Some say he plays golf all the time. I say he scored in the Champions League final or the Copa del Rey final. It is the same Bale. How can you criticise Bale after what he did for this club? Unfortunately, we live in a very critical society. I was with Gareth when I went to Madrid to see them train. He seems happy in Madrid.

I know the latest news was that he wanted to leave Madrid in the summer. I think that he was good enough to keep to himself when everyone, including [Madrid boss Zinedine] Zidane, was saying he would leave in a matter of hours. He kept to himself. He got ready, he started the season and showed everyone he is Gareth Bale. It is a family decision [not to go to China]. Many people criticised Oscar or Hulk for being in Shanghai SIPG, being young, but we are all different. We cannot make opinions about other people’s lives and family futures.

People say you have to wait until you are old to go to China. Why go now? But we don’t know what will happen in China in the next few years, maybe football will go bust. Sometimes an opportunity comes and you need to make a decision. Some have decided not to go, fair enough, in the same way, if you go you have to respect that.

Gareth’s decision will be a family decision because he has his family with him in Madrid. People don’t understand that as well, it is easy to move when your kids are older like mine. I can go to any country in the world with my wife and leave my kids. When your kids are at school, you think very carefully about where you are going. It felt like an issue for me to change Zaragoza with London. Imagine going to a small Chinese city? If it was in Shanghai, I would tell Gareth to go. He would have international schools. There are many things you need to consider for these decisions

[Discussing how the Wales international was adamant he wanted to play at left-back] Bale is a good man and I think he can be proud of his achievements. I worked with him when I was at Tottenham. He was a very offensive left-back and he always only wanted to play as a left-back. We asked him to play a little bit further forward but he said: ‘no, I need space to run’. A few years later, he played forward and he was amazing. Juande [Ramos] tried but [Harry] Redknapp pushed him on

I saw him play for Leyton Orient and I remember he looked like he had a shot on him. With the right and left but it was difficult to see his class at that time. This was when I was at Brighton. There are people who have an eye for a player at 16, 17, 18 where they know that this is the one straight away. Some people can see something in a player. I saw Kane was good but I didn’t think he could become the best English player in every aspect. One of the best strikers anywhere. The confidence and position he has in his finishing is great. England and Spurs both need to win something for him to be remembered as a top, top player. The golden generation should’ve won something. It was bad that this squad didn’t win anything. Maybe we will think the same about this generation. Something was missing to make the final step with the last generation. They need to take that step this time

2020 01 16 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet thinks Barcelona don’t need to sign a Luis Suarez replacement as they have Griezmann] The Suarez situation is 100 per cent similar to Harry Kane’s injury at Tottenham, there is no difference. The problem at Barcelona is that they can’t find a player who accepts to sit on the bench until the day that Suarez is not playing. They couldn’t find that guy. They have a player in the club who can replace him in Griezmann so I wouldn’t be too desperate to find a striker. It is a matter of what Quique Seiten wants

It is quite surprising to see the change of manager but it happens these days. Seitan has a very, very clear philosophy of football. He was always talking about Johan Cruyff with his style of play and approach.

All us coaches like to get to that point [of being able to handle different egos] and then we try to make our philosophy work. You don’t know if it will work, though. When you get Messi in front of you then you need to sort out the problem of connecting with him to get the best out of him. In saying that, it is his time as well. It depends on the next four months as then there’s presidential elections next year and you never know what happens with the coach after that

[Poyet also commented on fellow countryman Federico Valverde’s emergence at Real Madrid] It was nice to see Uruguayan players making a foul from behind, we never did it before and won’t do again. He is a terrific player, a great boy. He is very calm and down to earth. He wants to play his football, he tried away from Madrid to go on loan and do something different. Everyone was talking about other players coming to Madrid but he has worked slowly to make it difficult for Zidane to pick his three midfielders. Valverde is constantly pushing with Kroos and Modric. For Uruguay seeing him play in Madrid is something extraordinary. I have met him; It is something we haven’t seen for many years - a Uruguayan playing in Madrid

2020 01 16b Retrieve

[Gus Poyet says Mauricio Pochettino won’t wait for Real Madrid and will join top club very soon] If that was the only option [Madrid] then he will have to wait but I don’t think he will wait. As soon as one of the big clubs lose their manager, then Mauricio will be there or thereabouts. The first name? Perhaps, along with [Massimiliano] Allegri. They are the top two for the next big job.

I expect Mauricio to go to a top, top club. After what he has done during his spell at Tottenham, he deserves to get an ever better job. Sometimes you need that timing though, I remember a few months ago they were talking about Real Madrid when Zidane left and now he is back.

From the outside, we didn’t talk too much with Mauricio, but something was not working. I mean the people at the club know. The only thing I can say that from the board, there was a change of direction completely. They went from a manager who creates stuff through the years to a manager who wins trophies. That is the way I understand the situation from the outside. I suppose every Spurs fan now expects Jose Mourinho to deliver trophies

[Giovani Lo Celso was among the goals for Mourinho’s side in that contest] He is a number 10, he played a different role [against Boro] because Christian Eriksen was playing. Sometimes to get the pace of the game from Spain and Betis to England on a Tuesday night in the rain is difficult. The idea to play him wide wasn’t bad to give him time to adapt, but in the future I can see him playing in a free role around the striker. He has an incredible left foot. Today, he probably can’t move. He finished the game really stiff and he couldn’t walk off the pitch but that’s England. Welcome to England. He is going to be great. He has all the qualities. He was that type of player that deserved Paris Saint-Germain and Betis were lucky to have a player of his qualities. Now, he is here and there’s plenty to come

2020 01 18 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet has issue with Charly Musonda during their time working together] I think he has terrific ability and he has something very hard to find in football, which is speed. This is a strong opinion but I am not worried to say it: Charly has to change his way of thinking about football. He has to decide by himself what he wants to do.

If he still thinks he is the young kid with some ability, then he will lose his career. I know Charly a little bit and I tried to sign him [permanently at Betis]. Then, we had some problems and the manager gets the blame. But you need to make decisions for yourself and forget anyone around you.

You need to put your head down and say, ‘I want to be the player I can be’. If you can’t do that, it isn’t going to work. He is a player who can attack people one-versus-one and really go past people. He can make chances continually. If he is in an area where he can receive the ball and attack the full-back constantly, then you have problems, because he can go past you

2020 02 29 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet praises Chelsea’s Ziyech signing] Ziyech has plenty of quality. He’ll be an exciting player for the fans. I was just disappointed Chelsea didn’t get any players in January, to be honest. You cannot have the season you’re having with the transfer ban. Then you go to the appeal – probably spend a lot of money getting that appeal – and showing everybody you want the appeal, and after having the chance to sign in January, you don’t and you sign someone on February 12. It’s strange. It’s a new situation, especially for Frank Lampard and his staff. I hope they are able to keep dealing with the situation in the best possible way and finish in the top four

My first idea was to try to come back to England. It’s been a little more difficult than I expected, to be honest. I felt there would be some possibilities, especially during the summer and the first six months of the season, but for whatever reason, it didn’t happen. Now, I’m a little bit more open to the world, where there are always opportunities. It’s just a matter of making the right decision. I’m not so much looking at the name of the club, but for the people that I would like to be working with, because that’s what you do as you’re working with the people of the club every day. When we are kids, we dream to play for the best teams in the world and when you’re a coach, it’s the same. But now at this moment in my career as a coach, I’m looking for people that want to do something in a special way.

2020 03 26 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet thinks that Hakim Ziyech can provide a new reason to watch Chelsea next season] I thought last year he was outstanding, every time he got the ball you thought something would happen with creating chances and scoring goals. He is more individual than I was! He is more direct but he always tries to affect the offensive play of the team which is exciting for people. When people go to watch football, they pay to watch teams win but also see something special. I think he is that kind of player to bring something to excite people in the stands to get people buying tickets. I was very surprised at the situation where he signs four days after January for next season. I couldn’t get it around my head but people have forgotten about his signing. In January, people thought Pedro, Willian and [Olivier] Giroud were going to have an exciting new player to come in. Now we can go through 20 names of players that perform at an incredible level in Holland with a few playing very well in England but the majority didn’t. It depends on how quickly he adapts to football and life in England

For sure, I would have like to see Edinson Cavani and any Uruguayan players in England. We bring what English people like: that’s passion, desire and playing to the maximum all the time-every game whether three o’clock, 9pm, up north or down south or summer or winter. There is always desire and passion which is very welcome in England. It is important to have these players in England. All I want for Cavani is a team where he can play up front as the main striker every week so he can enjoy his football. He is over 30, after being in big clubs and big cities. Now is the time to enjoy his football. He is good enough to be the main man at most clubs in the world. I would decide on that but he has to decide for him and his family

2020 03 27 Retrieve

[Chelsea are still not getting the best of Kante because he is out of position] In very important games Lampard went with Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic until the last month with injuries. Those are the three most experienced players who played under Sarri but now they play with more freedom, especially in Jorginho having more possibilities to move around to go sideways and forward. Last year, he was very static. There are plenty of options.

In Kante’s first year, he came to Chelsea and I made it public that he is the best central midfielder in the world. After a previous season as a number eight in that different position, we lost how important and unique he was as a player. I hope he can get back to that. In his best position, he is unique and there’s not many players that can give you what he can do right now

I think that it was important for the club to see him before the end of the season. He showed how mature he is especially in possession. Again, it isn’t a matter of performing once or twice but every month, season through season.

We should be happy to see him and hope he keeps developing his game slowly to become a better player because it is early doors. I really enjoyed watching him and he could be an interesting player for the future. I prefer to make sure people take time with him and not go the other way.

I was at Stamford Bridge a long time ago when a young Josh McEachran was making the team at 17. The whole stadium were talking about him after that game. People were saying he was the next [Fernando] Redondo or [Pep] Guardiola.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out like that despite a great football career in the Championship. The idea to know is that it is difficult and [to know] how to progress in the next few months and years

[Poyet assesses Lampard’s first season in charge of Chelsea as broadly a success but that defeat against the German champions serves as a wake-up call] They started very well. I thought it was a good surprise because of the changes the team had with young players coming in the team to play week in week out. It get them extra enthusiasm because they were waiting for the opportunity for a long, long time

It gave a boost to all those young players because they spent so much time on loan without the chance to play for the first-team. These are the ones who proved they were good enough to play. They were given an extra bit of adrenaline.

We know as experienced people in football that the energy will drop. It is impossible to maintain it, especially for a young player. Then, when the team had a bad spell that was expected rather than planned. You have to be realistic to know it will happen.

Everyone started being too critical about the team. They are in a good place right now. In saying that, it is a normal season of good moments but then wake up call especially in the Champions League

2020 03 28b Retrieve

[Gus Poyet says Don’t blame Mourinho, Tottenham need an overhaul] I think it is the end of an era, the end of a process. At certain places, you can manage the process in a way by slowly changing. Sir Alex Ferguson was the master of that. He was always one step ahead of allowing important players to leave and then replace them. There are other places where you hang onto a team until the end and then you feel like you have to change everything. I think Tottenham is in that place at the moment. This defends every manager in the world, not only Jose Mourinho.

When you have Kane and Son, you are one kind of manager than without them. On the training pitch, you remain the same guy, you train the same way, say the same words and try to convince the players in the same manner. Now, when you have a 20-plus goal striker you are better, when you don’t you are worse. People don’t accept that. If Harry Kane is there, the manager is good, when he isn’t the manager is bad. I think that’s very unfair.

When you change the manager, something isn’t right. The problem is not always the manager but they change him because it is logical not to change 25 players. People expect him to do something magical and there is normally a change makes a reaction. The players normally like the change; then reality comes back on the players. It will be an important end of the season for Spurs but even more so in the market after. I think they have a plan. They had their finances and a clear plan under Pochettino to build a training ground and stadium, taking them to another level. Somehow they still did well without too many changes in their squad. The strategy took them to a higher level but now they need to focus on the sports side again. I wouldn’t be too critical. That’s football that you need to tweak it after a while

2020 04 11 Retrieve

[Former Sunderland manager Gus Poyet says there are only two things that matter to the club’s fans – avoiding relegation and beating rivals Newcastle] When I went to Sunderland, the owners and the fans asked for two things: one, to stay up and two, beat Newcastle. The rest, I swear to God, does not matter. Somehow we did the miracle – and it will be remembered as a miracle – to stay up. Six games to go we were seven points from safety and we were playing Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd, so it was a miracle. In my time we played Newcastle three times and beat them three times, twice at [St James’ Park](newcastle-united.html). Then it depends how you analyse what success is. People say to me: ‘You had a tough time.’ Yes. ‘You got sacked because the team was bad and close to relegation.’ Yes. But what did you ask me to do? What was my goal? Save the team and beat Newcastle. Without saying that we went to Wembley for the first time in 20 years, we lost the Carling Cup to Man City, but I think we did our job and I was easily accused of saying things that now people watching the series, they will think back: ‘Oh, Gus had a point.’

The first series was very special, as it touched me a lot as I was there. It was my office, that was my life. I was there first thing in the morning and leaving the training ground at five or 6pm. I was one of the few, and I am not putting myself in a special place, who managed the club while living in the city. It was sad to see so many people I worked with that were still there and it was tough for me to watch. The second series shows a different side of the story of the new owners. They wanted to change things in a very strong, aggressive manner and certain things they were complaining had been done by people before, they ended up doing themselves. It just shows you that it is easy to talk about something you are not in and it shows what goes on behind the manager, letting people know how it isn’t his responsibility. At the end, though, it ends up being the manager’s responsibility

2020 05 09 Retrieve

[Gustavo Poyet thinks it was bizarre for Chelsea to make no January signings and then announce a deal for Hakim Ziyech days later] A very good player, very interesting player. I didn’t understand – and I’m not criticising anyone – why Chelsea, after all that went on in the summer, not being able to sign players, get to January with the possibility of signing players, they didn’t, and then three days later, four days later, they announce they sign a player for next year. It’s not normal, okay?

I’m not saying it’s bad, but I lost it a little bit because you complain a lot about not being able to buy, then you have the chance to buy and you don’t, and then when the transfer window is closed you announce that you bought one. Leaving that aside, I think they got the quality of a player the fans will enjoy watching. Plenty of skill, technically gifted, can score goals, and he can produce things for the team

2020 05 09b Retrieve

[Gustavo Poyet says Bringing Frank Lampard and Jody Morris back to Chelsea was the perfect decision to boost the club’s youth development] You can get one player every year getting through into the first team [from the academy] but there was always someone coming from somewhere else. A player needed to perform tomorrow. There is a different way of working and I’m convinced there is no right or wrong. Every club, with different people in charge, has a different way of working. At Chelsea, for many years, it was, ‘We want players to jump on the pitch and that day they will perform’ - because of the transfer ban, it was something that needed to be changed. This generation of young players have the chance for the first time in many, many, many, many years to take the opportunity of playing for the first team at a young age. The main thing was the big, strong and perfect decision of the club to bring Frank Lampard back and have the support of the fans. And his assistant, many people don’t talk about, Jody Morris, who has been the coach of these kids before he went to Derby County with Frank Lampard. That connection of knowing the coach and having the fear as a Chelsea player of having someone like Frank Lampard in front of you, and having the chance to prove that the kids are good enough to play for Chelsea, I think was perfect.

They were trying to finish the season in a good way and finish in the Champions League [places], which would be a great achievement. People take it for granted, because of your name. But like I said before, we depend on the players. We’ve got young players and normally to win trophies with young players is very, very difficult, not impossible, but more difficult than with players who are of a certain age. So, having the chance to be in European competition next year would be a massive achievement for Chelsea. These kids are going to be able to go to another level because the more you play against big, big opposition, the better you become. You’re out if you’re not good enough and you improve very quickly

2020 05 10 Retrieve

[Gustavo Poyet says Jose Mourinho will bring silverware to Tottenham and justify the club’s decision to dismiss Mauricio Pochettino] It’s difficult to say if it was right or wrong [to sack Pochettino] because you don’t know what the board was thinking. From outside, it looks like, okay, they were through a spectacular five years with Pochettino, who did incredible things and the way he made that team play football and the way he was able to keep the momentum and get into a Champions League final in an incredible year, with incredible games. But they decided to change that and go more for a manager [Mourinho] who looks to win things, which is what the Tottenham fans were looking for. Now, if it was right or wrong, time will tell. What I say in the time he did the job is, if you give him three years at the club, I will be surprised if he doesn’t win a trophy. I will be very surprised. Maybe he’s unlucky and next year we don’t have the League Cup and there will be one trophy less to play for, but he knows how to get players to play for important games. Cup competitions, on the day, it’s totally different. I was lucky in certain times to win trophies, but always in cup competitions. I was part of teams, like Chelsea, where we were very good on the day. ‘It’s today, or nothing tomorrow’. And that day, I was lucky to participate in teams that were able to win those games

2020 06 21 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet says Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham can definitely play together for Chelsea] They can definitely play together because he’s been playing, in his team, with the big fella upfront. So, it’s not new for him. It’s just a matter of the system you play and how you prefer to play. I think it’s options. For any manager to have different options is very important. I think Tammy has done very well and I hope he finishes the season in the same way because that’s the best way to give somebody a decision to make. You’ve done your best and then it’s down to Frank Lampard to pick

It’s always very difficult to get one of the top strikers in Europe, especially if you’re the club buying, because there’s too many people who are trying to look for the same type of players. I’m pleased that he’s coming to Chelsea. I’m pleased that he will give options to Frank Lampard, especially in front of goal which is the most important and normally the most expensive one. He’s very good at running into space and quick. I’m not saying really fast, but he’s quick, pacy and he can go in [behind] one vs one. He’s intelligent. I think he enjoys it more when he plays as the main striker, but also he’s been playing at lot coming in off the left when you play three up front. I think there are good options for Chelsea next season.

This is the dream for the coach. Before you even start training for next season, you’ve got players through the door already. This is acting quickly and not letting anyone get involved and deciding which players are your first choice because that’s something that is very difficult in England. When you talk about big teams in England, like the top four and top five, most of the time when they’re looking for a specific player, that player can be the same one. Then he becomes very expensive or you start looking for other options because you don’t think you’re going to get him. In this case, there was no time for anyone as ‘Bang’ Chelsea. [They made the] first decision and see you later. That’s something that is very welcome from the point of view of the staff and everyone around Chelsea.

2020 06 23 Retrieve

[Gus Poyet says Billy Gilmour is at the dream club to further his development] I had the chance to know him the other day through a sponsored thing with Chelsea. He loves the game. He’s got people in front of him that he can learn from. There are spectacular midfielders at Chelsea, people who have played at the highest level; players who have won the World Cup in [N’Golo] Kante, and players who have played for Real Madrid in [Mateo] Kovacic. So, there are plenty of things he can learn.

On top of that he’s got a manager who was an outstanding midfielder – okay maybe a bit more offensive – but also an assistant manager who played in exactly the same position in Jody Morris. It’s like the dream club for Gilmour right now, because if he really looks around and pays attention and listens, which is what I see him doing, the ability is in him [to go far]. Depending on how quickly he gets all that, he’s going to be an important part of the club. I’m looking forward to seeing him play in the next few games. Obviously he’s fighting for that place with very good players and it’s not like he needs to be in, because the other ones are very well recognised players. But in this period of many games, for sure, he’s going to have a chance

I think it was a great decision by the club [to bring in Lampard]. I think Chelsea were very clever in that situation to bring in a coach or manager like Frank Lampard, because it seems different to the previous 20-25 years [in terms] of looking more about bringing the kids [through] rather than buying players. This was a great opportunity for them, with a person in charge who knows the club and who has been working with some of the younger players and with Jody Morris as an assistant, who was coach of these players for many years in the academy. On the whole, I think the combination was very good. It’s been tough, because you know it’s going to be difficult. I’m sure if he keeps progressing and keeps adding, which Chelsea look like they are doing, I think he’s going to get better and better