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César Azpilicueta gives seal of approval for Luis Enrique as next Chelsea head coach

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FBL-WC-2022-MATCH10-ESP-CRC Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

The immediate pressure to find Chelsea’s next long-term head coach has been dissipated a bit with Frank Lampard’s appointment as Caretaker Manager — we might not have impressed in his first game back, but at least the situation is less awkward than with Bruno Saltor in interim charge — and that should give us plenty of time (in theory) to find someone who’s not only a good fit but can also lead the team to sustained success. In theory.

Luis Enrique is among the front-runners at the moment, and the former Barcelona and Spain boss is said to have impressed in his interviews. Whether we’ll offer him the job remains to be seen, but assuming he’s still available and willing to join in the summer, at least one player will probably be quite happy with his arrival.

Club captain César Azpilicueta knows the 52-year-old very well from the Spain national team, where he had been managing for the past four years (with a brief break in 2019 due to a family matter). In fact, before Luis Enrique took charge, Spain were usually guilty of overlooking Azpi for national team duty: half of his 44 caps have come in those four years, with 19 of those in the last two.

And while no player is likely to speak ill of a manager in public, Dave seems to hold Luis Enrique in high regard, as he explained in a recent interview with EFE Deportes.

“Luis Enrique is a coach with whom I have worked in two stages in the national team, my best games in the national team have been with him, with whom I have had great prominence. I’ve enjoyed it a lot, despite the bad taste in our mouths that we all had in Qatar, because we thought we had the team and that we deserved to go further. I only have words of thanks for him and we’ll see what happens.

“If there is one thing he has shown it is his idea of the game. He is very faithful to how he wants to play, very faithful to how he works, on a day-to-day basis, in what he wants to look for, through positioning, through play. [He] is a very authentic person, he will not hide how he feels. It will be what he believes.”

“[But] I am not involved in that process. Now there are parties who negotiate, who trust in what is best for the club. At (national) selection level, I will always be grateful to him.”

-César Azpilicueta; source: EFE via Reddit

If Dave’s happy, we’re happy.

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