For Part 1 of our pre-season look at Chelsea we’ve got friend of Typical City Ramon Isaac in to answer a few questions. He can be found on twitter and also writes about Chelsea on his own site, Mowing Meadows.
I can’t help but see Chelsea as our main rivals for the title. Now you’ve got the striker that was promised, is it fair to say that anything less than a Premier League win would be a disappointment?
Yeah, I think it is fair to say that we have high hopes of winning the league and every year we haven’t won the league in recent years has been slightly disappointing but you’re right, we certainly have no excuses as far as the squad is concerned. I mean, you could point out to the clubs around us also strengthening but I feel we had the clearest area for improvement and we’ve gone out and tried to fix it.
Last year we had the best defensive record in the league and early on looked like challenging for the title, but as Mourinho himself said he felt he had to change the system because of a lack of faith he had in our strikers to get the job done which meant we were pretty scrappy against lesser opposition and couldn’t find a way through when teams defended well against us.
Now we have Diego Costa who can hopefully replicate some of his form from last year, whilst the likes of Hazard and Oscar have had yet another season in the league to adapt and get better. Mourinho didn’t believe he could win the title last year which sort of lowered expectation but he seems fairly confident now and that comes with its own pressure, the expectations of the fans.
What’s your opinion on Mourinho? He seems like an outright bore to me, but I assume as a Chelsea fan you might feel slightly differently? Will he do the business this year?
With Mourinho, you know every move is often thought of in advance. His ‘Us against the world’ mentality may grow weary in the eyes of the rest of the footballing world and the media but as long as the results on the field continue, who are we to question it?
Personally, I adore the man. I think he doesn’t care what people think of him and that’s great, he’s a winner and he does it at all costs which is the sort of man you want to be managing your club. He’s not perfect and there are situations in which you might question his actions, I did over the sale of Juan Mata but you know there is a reason behind it and he has earned the confidence of the fans for us to trust those decisions even if we don’t necessarily agree with them.
I think the last two seasons have been hard on him with the lack of silverware and I’d definitely back him to correct that over the course of the next twelve months, he isn’t a man that takes kindly to losing.
Going to miss Frank Lampard? Both as a person and as a player, I mean. I’m quite intrigued to see how he will settle into the MLS with our cousins in New York…
There’s not much you can say about Frank Lampard that hasn’t already. In a golden period for the club where we spent countless millions, who knew an £11million signing in 2001 would go on to probably be the best player ever at the club. It’s amazing to have been able to witness it all, he’s been the model of consistency over the years and his goalscoring achievements are without comparison when you look at other midfielders. I know there’s plenty who criticise him for perhaps never achieving that same level with England but what he done for Chelsea will never be forgotten and he will rightly be remembered as one of the best.
I suppose the other part of it is as you say the person will be missed as well. Loads of players these days receive loads of media attention, good and bad but Lampard managed to keep quiet for most of the time and rarely has there been a bad word said about him from fellow players to managers to opposition. Most importantly he understood the fans, shared the passion for the club and truly gave everything he had. I wish him all the best in New York.
And now, of course, he’s at City on loan until January which should be interesting to say the least!
You have a small army of players out on loan across Europe at all times, seemingly. Is their purpose simply to sell down the line in order to fight FFP or are there any you can see getting in the team this year or next?
It seems a pretty cynical view to think that it is done with the soul purpose of complying with FFP, I mean there is that upside, the notable case being Kevin de Bruyne but I think the acquiring and subsequent loaning of players has been going on for quite some time and the club have been successful with a few players in the past. Alex was a player like that in sorts, when he couldn’t get a work permit he was sent to PSV and after succeeding there he was brought to Chelsea.
There are always only going to be a few that make it, when you’re trying to win multiple trophies every season, you don’t really have that sort of luxury to be able to bed players in so to speak, if they don’t perform straight away, that’s probably it. Kurt Zouma is a recent example of someone being given a chance, granted his loan spell was only 6months back at Saint Etienne after buying him in January and then there’s Courtois as well who is probably going to usurp Petr Cech for the starting spot this season. As for next year, a season long loan in Germany may bring out the best in Kalas who impressed when playing against Liverpool, so I think he’s got a great chance of making an impact on the team when he comes back.
City have been below par in the Champion’s League these last three years. As recent winners, is there anything obvious the club should be doing differently in Europe this season?
Having a Didier Drogba helps. A lot.
The Champions League is tough, there were plenty of years I thought we would win it, and perhaps there were a couple when we deserved to win or perhaps were even the best team in Europe. At the end of the day you need a bit of luck riding your way and in our case, players who want nothing more than to lift the trophy.
That being said, City’s efforts have been rather dismal even for a tournament that is so difficult to do well in. I think there are subtle changes that need to be made between how you play in the league as opposed to Europe and the more accustomed the team gets to the competition the easier it will be to do well. Keeping players fit and healthy also helps, the Tevez debacle one season wasn’t a great help, nor was Aguero never being fully fit this past season.
Finally, which City player would you have in your first XI if you had the pick?
I think there are quite a few who would say Yaya Toure but not for me. David Silva would be close but we have too many players in his position, so that leaves Sergio Aguero. I think he’s incredible, the best striker in the league when healthy and that would’ve included Suarez if he was still around.
It’s still a little disappointing to know we missed out on Aguero despite being linked with him for what seemed to be every summer transfer window from when he joined Atletico Madrid. His combination of strength, speed and skill is fantastic, he gives every defence problems and can score out of nowhere, he’s a game changer and the more of them you can have on your team, the better your chances of winning trophies.
Interview by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter