Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink spoke exclusivly to Safe Betting Sites and is convinced that the Blues will get into the top four.
The former Dutch international has also backed striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score 20+ goals this season despite his shakey start to life at Stamford Bridge.
Hasselbaink was also critical of the signing of Wesley Fofana, and expressed his desire for Chelsea to sign Brighton’s Adam Webster.
If you would like to use any quotes, please credit and link to https://www.safebettingsites.com/. Here are the highlights of the interview.
Highlights Of The Interview
- Chelsea will get top four
- Aubameyang can score 20 this season
- Chelsea should have signed Brighton’s Webster over Fofana
- Hasselbaink shocked by Tuchel sacking
- Chelsea the best move for Sterling
- All-star game will never happen in England
Transcript of the Interview
Lee: That’s no problem. How are you doing Jimmy?
JFH: I’m not too bad. Not too bad. How are you?
Lee: I’m good. Thank you. I’m Lee and I’ll be doing the interview today, obviously, a lot to talk about with yourself. So I think we should start with Chelsea, who played last night. First came under Graham Potter, what did you think of the performance?
JFH: I thought they controlled the game, I thought it was a good controlled game. I thought they were the better team. I thought their play up to the final third was very good, but
I do think at times when they win the ball in good areas, their initial thought is to control the ball and play it backwards instead of trying to play it forward and put the opposition more on the back foot. I think they could have done that more and better. But overall, I thought up until they scored one nil. It was very good. When they scored, when they scored one nil, they didn’t push on, they didn’t really go for the 2-0. I think Graham Potter will be a little bit frustrated that when they scored to make it 1-1, you could see that the intensity went up again to score. Overall, you know, they were unlucky to get the goal against them but you know, in Champions League you can always get, you know, a goal against you, so you need to be on top. It’s not the result that he wanted but in the majority It was the performance that he wanted, so in a sense he can be quite happy.
Lee: Obviously Chelsea were quite quick to sack Thomas Tuchel, do you think that was the right decision?
JFH: You know, when owners take over their club, they have got their own vision and majority of the time they want to bring in their own man who will implicate that vision? Was I surprised? Yes. I was surprised because, obviously, you know, he had the transfer window and stuff, but then, you know, when a new owner comes in, he wants to bring in his own people and have his own vision and people who have got that vision to implicate that, you know, in the way forward. But then on the other hand, you know, Thomas did very well last year with a very difficult situation and scored a lot of brandy points with how he handled that situation and how he came out of it, you know. Did I think that Tuchel was going to be here for a while longer? Yeah, but look, it’s football, nothing really surprises me. In a way I can understand that the new owner wants to have his people and his appointments in the club to go forward so you know, and to be fair, I do like Potter. I like Potter and what he has done at Brighton, how they play. How attacking their play is, If you look at the side yesterday, it was very attacking. Sterling was playing left wing back, you know, in an attacking way and he had Aubameyang, he had Havertz and Mason mount on the pitch, so those are a lot of attacking players.
Lee: I guess with that, we could go in and move on to the players, I think you recently said that Chelsea needed another three signings to have a squad that was good enough to compete. Do you have the squad now? Or do you think they needed more?
JFH: I think they brought in a striker, a number nine. I think Aubameyang can score 20 plus goals, I think when Kante comes back that they will be stronger. They didn’t get the centre half that they wanted but they got a young centre half and he will need time. Have they got a squad to go and become champions? Not yet. Have they got a squad to get in the top four and compete for an FA Cup, or get far in the Champions League? Yes. Are they going to win the Champions League? They’re not favourites, I don’t think that they are. But a successful season would be finishing in the top four and winning a Cup this year.
Lee: You talked about Aubameyang? Obviously getting 20 goals a season now, he’s had a relatively slow start. He was brought in with the view that he was going to be working with Thomas Tuchel because they’ve worked together before. How well do you think he’ll do? You said there 20 goals a season but the way that he left Arsenal, how he was at Barcelona,
do you think it is a bit of a risk for Chelsea?
JFH: He done really well In Barcelona; He was scoring goals. He did well. I think it’s a good signing for the next two years. I don’t think that it is a four- or five-year signing. It’s a two-year signing. I think he will score goals; he knows where the back of the net is. I think yes, he did sign for Chelsea because Tuchel was there. But as a footballer, you know, it happens that managers come and go, you know and his career will keep on going and he needs to produce like any other player and I don’t think that is a problem. I think he’s going to embrace it and I think Potter will embrace him as well. I don’t see any problem really. He has only played two matches, yeah, he has not hit the back of the net yet but that will come, you don’t become a bad player overnight. You know, I think that he will score as he is different to Lukaku, he is different to Werner. They’re different kinds of players. He’s better in small areas. You know? Is his movement going to improve? Yeah, I think the sharper he is going to become the sharper his movement is going to be. You can see that he’s not there yet with a few times offside last night, but with time it will get sharper and that will come.
Lee: Kai Havertz as well, he’s another player that obviously scored in the Champions League final, but since then, has had his critics of certain performances. Where do you see him fitting into the team? And do you think he’s a starter for Chelsea?
JFH: Yeah, he’s definitely the starter for me. I like Kai, the guy brings class, brings elegance to the team, he has a beautiful left foot. I think he’s the kind of player that needs to play in a free kind of role. You know, yesterday they played with like two number 10’s. So really, he should be a number 10 For me, getting in the box, getting at the end of things, creating things, getting on the ball. He needs to get more touches on the ball. I like him. Yes, he’s not having a great time at the moment, he’s not playing his best football, but he’s young, he’s still young. You know, he needs to find good consistency and he’s looking for that but you need to give him time, you need to give him that room as a young player.
Lee: If you were the manager in the summer, and you had obviously all that money to spend, is there anyone that you would have bought in yourself? Is there a player out there that you think would have made Chelsea title contenders or definite for the top four for example?
JFH: Yeah, everybody wanted Haaland but Haaland was already gone and he was always going to go to Man City. Chelsea missed out on Kounde, that was a big one and I would have loved to see De Jong in midfield but it wasn’t meant to be. They missed out on De Ligt who went to Bayern Munich. So yeah, they missed out on a couple. But at the end of the day.
I thought that, you know, going for a centre half, the boy that came from Leicester, Fofana has a great great future ahead. But if you are going to buy a centre half in England, who has done really well, then I would have liked Webster, from Brighton. I like Webster, what he has done, how far he has come. And I think it’s time for him to step up to the next stage. But then, you know, it’s between the one from Leicester (Fofana) and Webster, I like Webster, you know, and he might have been a little bit cheaper.
Lee: Just on Chelsea’s fixtures coming up, they don’t actually play again until October 1, because of the postponements at the weekend and then the international break.
Do you think that’s gonna benefit Graham Potter?
JFH: If there was no international break, it would have benefited him a lot. Now, it does benefit him a little bit, but not as much. Because the majority of the players or all of the players are going to go to the national team and so he can’t work with them. You know, so if they would still be here, it would be absolutely magnificent for him because he could have a mini preseason which is what I think he’s going to try to do now and until they have to go to their national teams.
Lee: Just on the owner Todd Boehly, he obviously came out with the comments about an All Star Game North versus south. I just wondered if I could get your opinions on that because obviously there was a lot of talk last night about Thierry Henry basically laying into him, so I just wanted to get your thoughts on it.
JFH: Well, he’s got ideas, I don’t think that it will work, but he’s got ideas. You know, it’s like what the NBA are doing and all that in America, but I don’t think in England, it would work and I also don’t think that it is kind of what we do here in the game. I think obviously there is a lot of money associated with it and obviously that is great, but I don’t think that we are
there yet with those kinds of things. So I don’t think that it is going to, it sort of lacks, basically, I don’t think that it will happen and I don’t think that it’s a football thing.
Lee: Obviously, your era of football was slightly different than it is today. If there was an all-star game then, would you have played in it? And how do you think it would have gone with the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea and Arsenal players having to play together?
JFH: I think that the rivalry between the teams are there, but the respect between the players is also there. You know, I don’t have really bad blood even though we used to go hard against Arsenal and, spurs you know, and West Ham players on the day, because they are derby’s but when we would see each other on the streets, there’s always respect, there’s always respect in spoken and, or in the nightclub or on events or whatsoever, there’s always respect. So I don’t think that that would be a problem. You know, because if you look at the England national team, there are so many players, you know from different clubs, you know, and they still find a way to get together and put their best foot forward.
Lee: Just on another player who scored last night in Raheem Sterling who’s just moved from Manchester City. What do you make of that move and do you think that it will benefit Raheem Sterling in his career?
JFH: Well as this next chapter in his career, isn’t it. He didn’t feel the love that I can understand, he didn’t feel the love of Man City, didn’t feel he was as much appreciated over there as he thought he should be for whatever reasons and he moved on and, fair play to him. He moved on. He didn’t look back and he’s wearing the blue shirt with pride very proudly and you could see that he’s trying. He scored a really good goal yesterday, he was very dangerous. He got in a lot of one v one opportunities and positions. He was really the most dangerous player from Chelsea, he put in some good crosses as well. Chelsea needed something like that, you know, somebody that can take people on one v one, quick, small, brave, direct. Yeah, I think it’s an exciting move for him.
Lee: Another player that’s come under some criticism this season has been the goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. I just wondered; do you think that Chelsea should have maybe brought in another goalkeeper before the transfer window ended? Do you think he’s the right man to be in goal for Chelsea for the rest of the season?
JFH: No, I don’t think that Chelsea should come in for another goalkeeper. He made one mistake against Leeds, yeah but he hasn’t really made other mistakes. The problem is when he came in, he made some incredible saves and that’s what people remember. It was the incredible saves when he was at the top of the game. Now, goals are going in and he can’t make the save but that doesn’t mean that he’s a bad goalkeeper. It was just a very good finish. You know? And that’s it. That’s it. That happens with goalkeepers you know, look how many goals Allison has, has let in this year. You know, and he has made mistakes in the past. But that doesn’t mean that he’s a bad goalkeeper, he’s a very good goalkeeper and so is Mendy.
Lee: On Chelsea this season, you kind of mentioned earlier that top four or a trophy or both would be a successful season. With how much the other teams have basically progressed and strengthened over the summer, do you see that as a realistic target or do you think that they might fall short this season?
JFH: I think that they will get in the top four. Will that win a cup? A cup is a lottery, isn’t it?
But I do think that that getting in the top four is achievable, It will be difficult, of course, because you have Spurs, Liverpool, Man City, Man United, Arsenal, they’ve all improved and if you look at the fourth four spaces, it is it Man City, Liverpool, even though they had a tough start, Liverpool is gonna be in the top four, we all think. Arsenal has got a really good start, but can they maintain it? But I do like how they’re playing, they’re playing some really good football with a lot of young players. Then you have Spurs with Conte and they are very solid, and they’re picking points up at places where normally they wouldn’t pick points up. So it will be tight. It will be close. Chelsea needs to improve. Chelsea needs to improve; they didn’t have the strongest start. They need to improve. They know that. They know that. But I still see Chelsea in the top four.
Lee: I’d like to move on, obviously you played for Leeds, now you’ve had probably one of the most surprising starts to the season because of how it ended last season. Everyone thought they might be struggling. They seem to be holding up quite well. What have you made of this now?
JFH: I think I’ve been a breath of fresh air. I think they’ve been absolutely magnificent until now. The break for them is coming at the wrong time I think because they have the momentum, they’ve been playing well. They’ve been playing really good football, they’ve been playing really good pressing football, energetic going forward. Yeah. Very impressed with them. Long may it continue. As I said, I didn’t, I didn’t think that the break was coming at the right time for them. Hopefully they can pick it back up and keep on going. They played ever so well against Chelsea and deserved to win. And how they did that, Yeah, they were very good. I was one of those that thought they were gonna have a very difficult season because of Phillips going and Raphinha going. But they’ve had a really good start. And that is a really good thing to have a good start.
Lee: I was gonna ask about the players that they lost because in the transfer window, it was all kind of doom and gloom, losing the players but recruitments were quite good. What have you thought of new signings? Like Aaronson and Sinisterra? Because obviously, they’ve been starting, and they’ve been winning, scoring goals so what’s your thoughts on them?
JFH: Yeah, as I said, very good, very energetic, young, exciting, very tidy on the ball. Very forward thinking and they can do the pressing game. I was one that I would have liked to see two, three players coming in that have Premier League experience but I have been proven wrong, you know that it doesn’t always have to be, you know. They’ve been for Leeds a breath of fresh air.
Lee: What did you think of Phillips leaving? Because obviously Raphinha going to Barcelona was a lifelong dream. He’s starting in games he’s playing regularly. Klalvin Phillips has barely had an opportunity at Man City it seems, with the World Cup coming up, do you think that he will live to regret that decision to leave this season?
JFH: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think you know, in your career, you have to make decisions. He is a boy from Leeds. He loves Leeds through and through Leeds supporters, they love him. But they also know that Leeds is not going to be champions very soon or in the near future. So he’s got only X amount of time to achieve that. So yeah, does he need to play a little bit more with Man City, yeah, but he needs to work harder to get this place.
But that will make him a stronger person mentally and it will also make him a better footballer. So he has to fight for his place, he has to become better on the ball and off the ball, he has to understand the game better tactically, and it will only help the England setup at the end I think.
Lee: You don’t think he’s in danger of missing out on the squad if he doesn’t get enough game time.
JFH: Danger for who? Who’s going to fill that spot? At the moment who is playing better than him in that spot? He’s still the best England midfielder I think with Rice. Henderson is not playing great at the moment and is also not playing week in and out. At least his team are winning games. In the Champions league, Henderson is not. Who else is there? Bellingham is good, but doesn’t have the defensive side that Phillips has.
Lee: So you would stick with Phillips and Rice in the World Cup?
JFH: I would play Phillips Rice and Bellingham; I’d play all three. Because Bellingham is also an exciting player.
Lee: When the manager Jesse Marsh came into Leeds, what were your initial thoughts? And have they changed at all? Were you a sceptic when he came in?
JFH: I didn’t know him. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know him at all. He comes over very relaxed, very very intense in what he does, but calmly if that makes sense. He obviously knows what he wants. He obviously must be a very good coach. It is difficult to come after Bielsa, you know, because they have had a lot of success with how Bielsa played. But at the moment he has started very well.
Lee: Where do you see them finishing this season? Because obviously last season just above the relegation zone, they escaped. Now looking like a different team. Where do you see their season ending?
JFH: If they can, improve on last year and make sure that they maintain their Premier league status and improve. They’ve had a very good season. They need to keep on improving so that they can keep on building. They’re not going to be in the top six or seven yet. It’s not going to happen. Yeah, the squad is not big enough for that. But if they can be around between 13th and 10th or ninth then we’ve had a really good season.
Lee: Just another one of your former sides, Middlesbrough, they haven’t started the season so brightly, they’re just above the relegation zone after a 3-2 defeat at home against Cardiff the other night. What do you think is going wrong there?
JFH: That’s a difficult question, I can’t tell you. they have been very unlucky you know, I can’t really tell you what it is exactly that’s gone wrong. It’s just one of those things, you know where you need some luck to go for you and you know, when I look at the games that they have played, the majority of the time they are in control and stuff. They were losing three nil and obviously that is not good but they’ve got a good manager with a good track record who got promoted out of this league, it’s about being calm and showing leadership to move forward. We all know they didn’t have a great start but they aren’t going to end up where they are now, they’re way better than that. It’s still early days.
Lee: How long do you think Wilder will get to turn it around? Do you think they’ll put a lot of faith in him?
JFH: I think they will, I think normally if you look at the track record of the chairman he’s not a silly man, one thing he does is work well with his managers. He tries to help them to succeed. Everyone speaks very highly of the chairman, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a killer instinct, he is no pushover. He knows what he wants and he works hard to get what he wants out of situations. He’s a really shrewd businessman. I think Wilder will be given a lot of time and rightly so.
Lee: In the future if the Middlesbrough job was to become available, would that interest you?
JFH: You’re putting me in a very difficult situation here. I’ve played for Middlesbourgh, two wonderful years at Middlesbrough it was absolutely magnificent. My last game was the UEFA cup final for Middlesbourgh. Who wouldn’t be interested in that job when it came up, but for me to talk about that now would be disrespectful to the manager in charge now.
Lee: You recently parted ways with Burton, it’s been a few days since that happened, have you had time to reflect on how that ended?
JFH: Yeah it’s just how it works, we came in 18 months ago and did an excellent job to keep the club in the league, then last year we started ever so well but in January we had to let players go as we were a little bit over budget. The budget went down for players, I think Burton’s is the lowest in the league. If you look at the other teams like Ipswich, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, you’re talking about 6 times the budget we were looking at. That is not a problem, we know what kind of club we are but we need to invest a little bit you know, but we couldn’t and it was very difficult. Then we didn’t have a head of recruitment when all those budgets went down significantly. So eventually you know you are going to have to fight against all that stuff and however good a manager you are, you can only do so much. On the other hand you don’t want the club to go into debt. So we have done ever so well to get young players in and to generate money for the club, what we have done is sold players to Wrexham, to Tranmere, to Ipswich of late. And these are players we have scouted and made better and moved on. But when you do that you have to go again, every time starting with the same blank sheet it becomes hard and the time comes when you have to say thank you very much and i have proved that i have been great but someone else needs to come with the same energy and commitment with different idea and take over to move on.
Lee: How do you think dutch players and managers are being represented this season?
JFH: I like the Dutch players, they are technically always very good. Van Dijk is having a difficult time but he’s still a Rolls Royce, he’s still class. Every player goes through difficult times so I have no issue with that whatsoever. I liked Van De Beek at Ajax, but he needs to go to a team where he is going to play week in week out because he is still so young and he needs to be out there week in week out to keep on developing. But I like the dutch players, i think it is good for the team to have players in different leagues, learning different trades in different countries. I think the Netherlands will be fine.
Lee: How do you think Holland will fare in the World Cup?
JFH: Hopefully really well, last time with Van Gaal we got to the final where we lost to Spain, and hopefully we can do that again.
Lee: How do you think England will fare in the World Cup?
Everyone thinks England will win it, I don’t think they’ll win it. They’ll go far but they won’t win it.