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  • By Yann Tear

Relax, Chelsea fans - that crazy flirtation with patient team-building is over. It's back to normal.




Ah, you can’t beat a good interim.


For Chelsea, those tasked with filling in between managers invariably won trophies in the Roman Abramovich era. Roberto di Matteo and even the reviled Rafa Benitez managed to achieve success in Europe. Di Matteo also won the FA Cup. Guus Hiddink won at Wembley when he was basically just filling in.


It’s only the interim interim bosses who didn’t deliver, but I think we can forgive Steve Holland and Eddie Newton for not producing much during their two days in charge in December 2015, to smooth over that tricky interval of three days between the departure of Jose Mourinho (first time around) and the arrival of Hiddink.


Mind you, they are all pretty much interim these days.


Step forward Bruno Saltor – the latest saviour of a Stamford Bridge season heading nowhere. Liverpool tomorrow night at the Bridge will be just the appetiser. Expect him to be toasted in Istanbul on June 10 when Chelsea win their third Champions League final against the odds – just a few days ahead of his inevitable sacking.


The 42-year-old Spaniard with that in-vogue Erik ten Hag look of bald head and beard is surely a legend in the making.


Then again, we will probably see Julian Nagelsmann arrive as the latest to line up for that multi-million pound payoff once there is the merest hint of something going wrong.


The German was recently axed by Bayern Munich to make way for Champions League winner Thomas Tuchel – the man owner Todd Boehly thought too flaky to continue as Blues boss.


It will remain one of the great mysteries that an impatient scatter-gun high roller like Boehly decided to go for the patient team-builder Graham Potter to lead the Blues into a new era, post-Abramovich. Or maybe he was just too caught up in the excitement of it all to bother with due diligence.


Most neutrals will feel nothing but sympathy for Potter, who abandoned the calm and pleasant set-up he had helped nurture at the Amex to test the limits of his ambitions, but probably most Blues fans will not.


Their diet of relentless success will not allow for the sort of drop in standards and results we had seen under the former Brighton boss. The belief is that he probably would not have lasted 31 games under the previous owner. Not that Abramovich is likely to have taken a punt on such a manager with a trophyless CV in the first place.


It was a pretty thankless task creating something coherent from the mess of new arrivals in January. That turned the whole assignment into something way outside Potter's usual field of expertise.


It was almost as if Boehly wanted to sabotage his man so he could quickly get back to the accepted modus operandi in this part of west London. For all the talk of creating a new era where instant results should give way to long-term strategies, we all suspected that high-minded approach would not last. And so it proved.


So welcome back Chelsea. As the fans love to chant: "We know what we are."



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