Remember Slavisa Jokanovic?
If you are an old fan, you must remember the Serbian who played for Blues in the period between 2000-2002. The midfielder wasn’t a popular figure at the Bridge and was criticized by fans before he eventually moved on.
Now a manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Jokanovic played a key part in the promotion of Watford to the Premier League this season. Talking to the media, Jokanovic says that he is proud to be a part of Chelsea’s history, but that wouldn’t stop him from inflicting more pain on the already vulnerable Blues:
“I am very proud to be part of Chelsea’s history but this is business and part of sport.
“My interests are now with a different side and I will try to hurt them more and damage them in this moment. I am trying to push myself, I am concentrating on this game and looking to demonstrate what I can do for Maccabi.
In fact, Slavisa insists that he was as surprised as anyone watching the Blues lose against the likes of Everton and Palace:
“I watched their defeats against Everton and Crystal Palace. It is a shock to see Chelsea start like this and for Manchester City to have a huge amount of points compared to them.
“Maccabi have caused a bit of a surprise by getting into the competition after starting pre-qualifying in July.
“We are not arriving as tourists and coming for a shopping trip in London. We are going to fight and try and cause another surprise.”
Fair enough! Slavisa is well aware of the fact that fan can turn on their own player when things aren’t going right and that can complicate the situation. The Serbian is himself a prime example of that:
“When you’re not winning games, it always leads to a complicated situation inside the stadium — it is natural.
“I played for two years at Chelsea and they were not the best years of my career but I enjoyed being part of the club and playing at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s true the fans were harsh with me, but I understood it. The club wanted to be in the Champions League but in my time there we only played in the Uefa Cup. But I always tried to give 100 per cent.
“Now we are in a different situation, my home is Maccabi Tel Aviv and I am 100 per cent with them.
“I understand the situation Chelsea are in and it can lead to a different ambiance inside the stadium.
“We must be brave, concentrated and motivated. The players must not be intimidated, it’s a great chance for us and we will be ready.”
Jokanovic also showed his support for Mourinho by saying that he is the right man for the Chelsea job:
“I believe Mourinho is the right man for Chelsea,” he said. “He has demonstrated this many times there and at other clubs too. It is a hard situation for them at the moment but he has the quality to change this bad start.
“This is one of the most important managers in the world and I’m sure he will find a solution.”
Lastly, he had a few words of support for the Serbian duo; Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic:
“It’s not just a question over these two players, it’s the team. Ivanovic has played seven years at Chelsea and is one of the most important players in their recent history, playing in many key games and scoring vital goals. Matic is still relatively new there but was fantastic last season.”
Source – Standard
Maccabi Tel Aviv might not be as talented as some other big sides, but they won’t be short of motivation; that’s for sure. After what Bradford City did to us in January and the horrible form we are in, we shouldn’t take them lightly at all! A win is a must for the Blues to raise the confidence and that’s what we expect, come Wednesday!
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