Salomon Kalou Interview: Why Chelsea fans need to back new manager and the power of positivity

Getty Images
Former Chelsea star Salomon Kalou calls on fans to give American owners and Enzo Maresca a chance at the club.

Versatile former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou has asked fans to support new manager Enzo Maresca and give the club’s American owners time to get things right. 

Maresca is already the sixth manager in two years under the new owners, not even the ruthless Roman Abramovich had such a high turnover of managers in a short period. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kalou’s fellow Ivorian striker Didier Drogba said recently he did not recognise the club he once played for anymore while Jose Mourinho admitted he had ‘no idea’ what Chelsea had turned into under Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali.

But Kalou speaking to LondonWorld exclusively said success is cyclical in football and that he believed Chelsea wasn't far away from getting back to the glory days. 

He said: “Every team has its identity, that's for sure. Chelsea’s identity is different now. But, it’s the direction the club took, they went for young players, young talents, developing young players. It's difficult to compare our time with Chelsea and the new vision. I think [we should] compare [Chelsea] to other teams like Manchester City, and Arsenal - who have gotten better, I understand but they need to back the new manager.

Getty Images

“The progression of Chelsea is slower than the others, but the potential is there. Last season I watched a couple of games they played against the top teams, and there wasn’t much between the sides. Chelsea struggled more against the teams they were supposed to beat. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s difficult to compare our generation to now because football has evolved, and young players need time. It’s not like before when I was the only young player at Chelsea with John Obi Mikel and Lassana Diarra. We had more experienced players with us, so we had to learn and adapt quickly. But this is a new team, they’re only young, they need time.” 

Chelsea won 18 major trophies in 19 years under Abramovich, including two Champions League titles and five Premier League trophies. Fans feel the ownership should have maintained his legacy and keep the team competing with the likes of Manchester City in the Premier League and Real Madrid in Europe

The Blues have now gone two years without winning a trophy, they’d never gone that long under Abramovich and a slow start to the next season could see the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge get very uncomfortable for the owners and the newly appointed Maresca.

But Kalou says there’s the need to be positive and hope that success will come sooner rather than later. He added: “Of course, they will [get back to the level we competed at]. It goes full circle, every big team goes around in a circle every ten years. You see today, big teams like Barcelona are struggling, but they’re going to come back because they’re a big club. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“When you’re a big club, and you establish yourself as a big club, it might take you a couple of years to get back to your level, but you eventually get there. I believe Chelsea will get back to their level - they need time. When you’re building something, you’re starting from scratch, so it’s going to be hard to be ready in one, two, three years. You need at least five-ten years, but I believe Chelsea will get back to their level.” 

On if it was the right decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino who led the club back to Europe, finishing sixth and reaching the final of the League Cup, Kalou said there was no point crying over spilt milk and energy was better used in supporting the new boss.

He concluded: “I don’t know. It was a mutual agreement, so I guess the manager maybe had better options. Chelsea have been through a lot of difficulty this season. It’s a new start for Chelsea with a new manager, and that’s a good thing. I think [Pochettino leaving through] mutual agreement is a good thing, it’s not like he was sacked - he did his best for the team.” 

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.