Petr Cech spoke on Sunday about the day-to-day running of the club. How does this uncertainty affect everyone at Cobham?
“No, there is no more uncertainty, it is the same situation as the last days. There is no update and no other feeling around.”
How would you describe the atmosphere in the team at the moment?
“A good mood. We couldn’t have two games more different than the ones we had in Norwich and against Newcastle in terms of the style of play, in terms of the hurdles to overcome.
“We relied a lot on our skillful play and we controlled the game at Norwich. We managed to win the game. Against Newcastle it was about mentality, about resilience, physicality, focus and skill. defence, to be brave and to stay committed.
“So that makes maybe any coach in the world – and me in particular – it makes me very happy to see how we won this game, and that we won it late.
“So the atmosphere is good and I’m confident the team knows what it took to be able to perform like this, what it took to be able to deliver results and that’s what we’ll do. again tomorrow.
“When I say we allow ourselves to focus on what we can influence, I really mean it. That’s what we do here on the training ground, and like I said, the goal is to take responsibility and take responsibility for people who take responsibility that we are at a big club, and there are hundreds of them and that’s what we’re doing at the moment.”
What’s the latest from the squad, are Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta ready to start?
“Yes, I think so, Marcos is ready to start, Azpi is ready to start.”
Are Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi available?
“We will try to have them later in training, but it will be a very, very close race, so that decision we will take later, after the training sessions.
“But as you know they weren’t involved, and the injuries they had, let’s see if it’s worth the risk or if it’s even possible, it’s going to be very, very close.”
Will the problems get worse and more difficult over time, we’ve heard there could be problems getting to Middlesborough?
“We have to deal with it. We have new things to discuss, like how to get to games. These are things that are normally taken care of by the organization team and the management team of the team. But now we have to stick together, consult each other, give our opinion and find solutions on subjects like the arrival at the matches.
“This was not the case before so there are subjects that we are not used to discussing, but no problem we discuss them. We spend extra time, extra hours, giving our opinion and to find solutions.
“We want to find solutions because, even if we want to play tomorrow’s game and qualify for the next round, we have to play Saturday’s game in the FA Cup and qualify for the next round.”
You’ve been a great ambassador for Chelsea over the past two weeks, are you surprised at how well you’ve done it? And do you need the next owner to be one that allows you to focus on a head coach rather than an ambassador?
“Before discussing a new owner, a new owner has to arrive, a new owner has to be approved and allowed to own the football club. Then we can discuss whether we need to discuss it. Maybe, one more time, I’m not the right person because there is a process to become an owner in this league.
“Of course, as I said after the last game, everyone relies on the reliability of the process and the values that underlie the decisions, the allowances and the commitment to owning and running a club.
“Did I have a choice [to be an ambassador]? No, I had no choice but to take on this role. Do I need it? No, but it’s more or less day to day. It’s like that in England that few people in sport talk to each other in a football club, it’s a structure that I really appreciate. We talk inside and of course we have responsible people in different roles with different responsibilities.
“Outside it’s more or less me talking. Was it always comfortable? No, but I think it’s necessary. I don’t think about it too much. I try to be honest, to to give you insight, to provide you with information, but more or less from the sporting side and from the heart of the coach. That’s what I try and what you can rely on. I’m more than happy if things calm down and we can talk about football more than ever.”
What are the travel and hotel arrangements for Lille and what do you think of Boris Johnson‘s spokesperson asking Chelsea fans to stop chanting Roman Abramovich’s name?
“I heard about it. I heard about it just a few minutes ago. I don’t know if in these times it’s the most important discussion to have in Parliament.
“I don’t know if the fan chants being discussed in parliament means we have to worry about the priorities of this government. But ok, listen, no need to comment from me. We have really much more urgent things to discuss and manage.
“There are restrictions and we have to deal with them. There are adjustments in the number of staff, who travels, how many rooms we have in hotels and how we get to matches. There will be, at my knowledge we can get to a professional level.
“It’s not about luxury and bling. It’s just a professional level sport, where we play with two days between games with our opponent having four days between games and we come up with the possibilities of injuries. For this, it is better to arrive with a plan rather than a bus.
“We try to do it. From what I understand, we have a framework to go and play in Lille without any excuse. Compared to these organisations, it is already more difficult to arrange things in terms of professional, in the best possible way, for the FA Cup, but we will deal with it.
“As long as we have shirts and we are alive as a team, we will be competitive and fight hard for our success. We owe it to the people who support us in very invisible ways. Of course, we are in the spotlight and it is our responsibility to do so.
How impressed have you been with Edouard Mendy’s development and how important is he to your team?
“Edouard is a top guy, a very strong, very humble character. I think everyone at Chelsea, including the supporters, wishes him success because he gave everything for the team to play a key role. I’m so happy with the way it has evolved.
“He’s been outstanding since I took over, played a key role. He’s strong mentally, also on the pitch, he’s been key to our best performances. He transmits that calmness to our defenders.
“He always thinks about the team. I’m very happy to have him in my team, delighted to coach him and it’s great to have him here every day. He’s a fantastic character.”
What do you expect from Lille?
“To be honest, I think they played well at Stamford Bridge. Very physical, they attacked high up the pitch. It was impressive. They had a good pressing game, they were very brave and had the mentality that ‘they had nothing to lose and we expect the same tomorrow.
“I know the stadium well and the atmosphere created by the fans. They will want to win and have nothing to lose. questions They play an attacking game 442. They are fluid, aggressive and direct.
“We have to be ready for that. We have confidence in ourselves as well. It’s half time right now. No game is decided by 2-0. The second half is tomorrow and we have need another top performance. Lille played on Friday so had a lot of time to recover. That’s why we have to be physically and mentally ready for a tough game.”