Gus Poyet Interview with OLBG

Updated: 120 Football

OLBG talk exclusively with Gus Poyet, most famously associated with Chelsea and Spurs, and here he gives his current views of both clubs and more

Gus Poyet Interview with OLBG
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Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

Gustavo Augusto Poyet Domínguez is a remarkable individual who has seamlessly transitioned from an impressive career as a professional footballer to that of manager and head coach. After beginning his footballing journey at Grenoble and River Plate, he now enjoys the admiration of many after taking on Greece's national team with great success following successful spells with Chelsea and Spurs in the Premier League

Spurs have gone backwards and need to accept reality - there is too much negativity

Tottenham start the games very well, but in the second half, everything changes to another level. Now, depending on who you play against, you can have the time to do that.

But when you play a team in form like Arsenal, if you give away two goals too early - especially the first one with the mistake from Lloris - it’s not that easy to recover.

It does not matter how well you can play in the second half to get back is practically impossible. So I think on one side, you have Tottenham who don’t the games very well and then on the other side you have the difference right now between the two teams.

Arne Müseler / www.arne-mueseler.com, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE , via Wikimedia Commons

I think Arsenal, and I am happy to say because I said two months ago, people didn’t believe Arsenal could win the Premier League and I thought it was disrespectful.

They are winning games and they are winning games in different ways and it seems like everyone is waiting for them to fail, but they are showing people that they are ready to go all the way.

They have a big, big chance of winning the Premier League. So for Tottenham, at the moment, there is too much negativity around the players, the staff, the club. Constantly, there is something negative; they are never in a position to accept reality.

I think that is a big, big problem at Spurs. They start every year thinking that they are going to do better than they are capable of doing right now. Until they set up a three or four year plan with the same players, the same coach and accept that it is going to take time, then they are going to have three very good games, three bad games and then negativity and a manager leaving. You cannot go up to the top three constantly if you don’t do that.

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The perfect example is [Mauricio] Pochettino; he didn’t achieve everything in the first six months, it was a process, it was a way of understanding football, convincing the players, bringing in the right players and that gave him the chance to go and get to a Champions League final.

It looks like they have gone backwards, like back to the 2000’s, every year is a new manager on a one-year project and in the Premier League especially, this is not possible.

Spurs should be happy to have Antonio Conte - he is a winner

I would like to think so, but before you bring in [Antonio] Conte, you know what Conte wants. Conte is not going to be there and be happy with fifth or sixth.

No; Conte is a winner - both as a player and a manager - and if you don’t help him with certain tools to win trophies, he is not going to be happy.

Then you either deal with an unhappy coach or it does not last. You know, this is Conte - wake up people! We are talking about somebody that everybody knows, why are people surprised that he wants more? I think they need to be happy to have him, or they have made a mistake as a club.

Spurs ‘could’ improve in January - but it is difficult to see where

The problem with that, and the simple answer is yes, but I don’t like that because I don’t know what Conte wants. I don’t know which kind of players he is looking for, I don’t know which position he wants to reinforce because I think the three at the front are playing most of the time, Richarlison is there which would be the fourth.

In midfield, I think he is happy that Bentancur is back, they have a few great midfielders. So I don’t know where he is looking to improve the team. That would be something that, until you know, we cannot really say.

Definitely, when you are not winning constantly, there is something in the team that you would like to improve. That is internal, so it is very difficult. We can talk different positions, but it is not worth it because it is about the coach and the club identifying the characteristics of one specific player.

Replacing Hugo Lloris would be a tough decision for Conte

It’s a tough one because I don’t know [Hugo] Lloris personally. I think you need to know his personality. I think that is a really difficult one for me, from the outside making an opinion after a mistake or two, it’s not my job.

I think Conte and the club knows the player very well and when it comes to who could replace him, that would be a tough decision. 

‘Absolutely stupid’ Spurs fan deserves lifetime ban for Ramsdale assault

Silly, unnecessary, stupid and not worth it. I think he needs, without any doubt, a life ban and maybe a little bit more in terms of justice. We don’t want people like that, we don’t want that stupidity.

He probably thinks it is funny, there is nothing funny about that and it is absolutely stupid.

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Arsenal in ‘great position for title’ with Man City prioritising Champions League

This is not easy for me after playing for Chelsea and Tottenham, but I will say that Arsenal is in a great position for many reasons.

The main one, is because of what they are doing; how they are winning games, how they are playing football, how they are managing games. That is the most important one.

Apart from that, the bigger teams challenging Arsenal, or who everyone expected to challenge like Manchester City and Liverpool, they are in a difficult patch.

Liverpool is not the Liverpool that we have expected, Man City I think have the Champions League constantly at the back of their head - it is there.

I think sometimes that people think it doesn’t affect players by thinking about another competition, but in the long-term after winning the Premier League for so many years and you cannot achieve the Champions League, it needs to be there constantly.

So the main objective of Man City this year, and probably Pep [Guardiola] will say no to this, but I am sure their main objective is to win the Champions League. That also helps Arsenal.

Arsenal is just trying to solely focus on winning the Premier League and okay, they are making a few changes and giving people some chances, but that also helps. That combination of a team like Arsenal doing fantastically well, being consistent and the main challengers not being there.

So let’s see if they can hold, but I always say that when there are more people and more teams challenging for the Premier League, the better the league is - even if I don’t like to say it is Arsenal! But it is good for football.

Mukhaylo Mudryk signing is a statement from Chelsea - their transfer approach has changed from the Abramovich days

I think he is a good player, I didn’t see too much of him but what I saw I liked. Were they looking for that kind of player or was it just because they wanted to beat one of their biggest rivals?

I think they have been making young signings, strong signings, players that can have a great future. But Chelsea fans after however many years with [Roman] Abramovich, they were used to today. Not tomorrow, not next season, you know they needed to win today and I think the signings in the last couple of months look to me like they are for the long-term. 

These players need to adapt to English football, they need to adapt to the team, they need to see the system and naturally, you have to wait for them to be at the top. So it looks like a different kind of approach to what Chelsea were doing in the past under Abramovich.

I think it is very important that the fans get that. I would even like a stronger statement from the club explaining what is coming, or what it is they are looking for in the future and not just bringing players to the coach and the coach taking all the blame. Behind the scenes there is a project, an idea, and then on Saturday everyone is expecting you to win!

So it looks a bit more like they are changing a few of the players, bringing in some young talents and trying to build something slowly for the future. Obviously they are trying to win in the process, but not now. So let’s wait and see, he looks exciting the player and I hope he can bring something special because Chelsea definitely need it now.

Chelsea should beat Arsenal to Declan Rice signing NOW - he is perfect Kante replacement

I think Chelsea have been waiting to see what the situation is regarding the injury with [N’Golo] Kante, and because I don’t think they can see an end, I would buy Rice now.

I would even say yesterday, they should have gone and got him. Definitely there is a Chelsea with a top Kante at his best and a different one without him. I said it when he came from Leicester and the first year he played for Chelsea, for me he was the best central defensive midfield player in the world. Now I am still convinced that when you are missing a player like that for so long, first because he was played on the right by [Maurizio] Sarri, and then because of the injury, you must replace him.

Nothing against Jorginho, [Mateo] Kovacic, nothing to do with that - we are talking about levels. I think it is important as well for the British side, you know the English side, as well in the midfield that you have that leader and for many years you can have such a good player.

Graham Potter MUST be given time at Chelsea

We all need that, I think the one thing we ask for most as managers is time…and money! Sometimes you don’t get time and obviously you don’t get that much money.

I think that Graham knew from the moment he left Brighton - and I am happy that he done so - because there are people in their comfort zone and they would be happy to stay there. Something needs to be terrible for you to get sacked at Brighton, or you go to the next level.

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You don’t know what is going to happen on Sunday morning, or even on Saturday night, and that is a different level. I know it is not nice now, but if he was to get the time to build something like he did at Brighton, he is going to be able to enjoy it tremendously - to be able to win trophies at a club like Chelsea is going to be amazing for Potter and all the staff.

So let’s hope that they slowly start to change the results and get more consistency and slowly bring in the players to a system that can make the Chelsea fans really happy.

Roberto de Zerbi has made Brighton look ‘spectacular’ - he is going to be a big asset

Well I think it was a big challenge because after so many years of Potter, for him to go and leave the club it was not easy.

The crucial thing is that the recruitment system at Brighton, everybody knows Tony Bloom and he has massive data, so they knew Roberto’s style of play and management very well. It must have been a big surprise to the Brighton fans because they may not have know about Roberto, which shows how deep the recruitment system goes.

I saw the team live on Boxing Day at Southampton and it was spectacular. Tactically, how he managed the game to put Southampton under pressure, they were really good to watch. It shows that he is going to be a big asset for the football club in the future.

So that kind of tension that was at the club when Graham Potter left, I can imagine the fans thinking ‘here we go, where are we going to go from here’ and that disappeared in one month - done. That is something that is very good for the club and the fans.

Darwin Nunez has ‘all the attributes’ - he needs to isolate himself from all distractions

I think he has all the attributes and characteristics to play in English football, no doubt. I don’t know him personally, But all the negativity that was around Darwin during the beginning of his arrival at Liverpool, with the training sessions and missing goals and then with the sending off for the headbutt, and then the pressure on him when he misses one or two in the Premier League.

This is a new world where the game starts for Liverpool, and people are waiting for him to miss the target - it doesn’t matter how easily or difficult it is. He misses the target, and they say ‘here we go again.’

They are not looking at Nunez in a normal way - like a football player. Anyone can miss; they are waiting for the mistake, they are waiting for that chance he cannot take and that is what everybody highlights. So it is going to be tough because he is going to have to score regularly for a few games, for a few months for people to change that and not keep waiting for the miss.

When I referred to social media, what I mean is I know normal people who are too active in social media and you are constantly seeing that negativity, even if you are strong mentally you will go to the pitch knowing that people are waiting for that.

So I was saying the other day in Uruguay, he needs to close out his mind completely and do what he does best. He is a terrific player; he’s big, he’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s quick, he can score with his head, his left, his right and he has got all the attributes.

Now, he just needs to isolate himself from everything and just play his game and get his consistency back.

Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Manchester United opens a place for Facundo Pellistri

Pellistri is a right-winger; old-fashioned winger, one-to-one, speed, delivery and assists to the players. He likes to work and help the full-back and when he went to Manchester United he was very young and, because of his stature as a not very big player, to get into English football and a team like Manchester United is not easy.

So he went on loan, it didn’t work for him at Alaves in Spain, but when you suffer and you are not playing regularly, you grow up as a person quickly. If it doesn’t affect your confidence, you become a stronger person and that will help you on the pitch.

I think it was great to see him the other day when he made his debut after so many years. But you also need things to happen, sometimes very simple. Ronaldo going opens a place in the squad in the front three. With Ronaldo in the team, with Rashford, with Martial, with Anthony, with Bruno coming wide, for him to break into the squad it was difficult.

Now Ronaldo left and there is a gap there, and then it is up to you. Get in there in training, convince the coach to put you on the bench - even if it is a cup game - and then, when you have twenty minutes, that is your moment.

So if it is true that the coach wants him to stay, it is because he is looking to bring him in slowly and make him a Manchester United player. Which, for Uruguay football, would be amazing.

Girogos Giakoumakis rejected interest from Japan - but he should leave Celtic for MLS if it makes sense to him

I think Giako is a strong character, he loves to play football, he gives you 100% all of the time, I think that is why he is so popular with Celtic and I think that shows when he was fighting with everybody in Scottish football.

He’s got better in front of goal and scored a few goals, but in this last season he has not been playing regularly. He felt that he wanted to play, simple.

Now, for that to happen when you have a contract, you have to have an agreement - club, player and coach as well. Apparently, there is this offer that has been accepted. First I heard it was this team in Japan, now I’m hearing it is the team in MLS, so I always say to any player when they ask for my opinion is that they need to make good decisions.

The more good decisions you make in your career, the better your career becomes. Wherever he is in the world, he is going to be in the [Greece] Squad - if he is fit! I really like him and he is a big part of the Greek national team and I hope he makes the right decision for himself and for the national team.

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