Marcel Desailly 2017 BSI

Newcastle Can Make Champions League Quarter-Finals – Marcel Desailly

Speaking to us here at BoyleSports, French legend Marcel Desailly has tipped Newcastle to go far in their upcoming Champions League campaign.

Desailly also weighed in on Arsenal’s Champions League prospects, Damien Duff’s value in today’s transfer market and the Toddy Boehly era at Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle Can Make Champions League Quarter-Finals

You won the Champions League with AC Milan, so how do you think the English clubs will fare in the Champions League?

I’m curious to see if Manchester City will maintain their capacity for possession, to keep using the ball the way they have. They might be able to because I can see that from the quarter finals to the final win, Guardiola had humility in his system and that’s why he won.

I hope victory will not bring him back to his old ways of trying to invent something new each match, changing something for each opponent. City can do it again if they keep that humility.

Newcastle Can Be Champions League Surprise Package

The surprise I’m waiting for is from Newcastle. They are back again after a long time, but there is a real belief after the way they invested and the smart way they recruited, they didn’t make too much noise. They had the money but they didn’t splash enormous amounts.

They have been choosy on players. From nowhere they went out and got Sandro Tonali, who is in the same level in my opinion as Gennaro Gattuso, the one who goes into the system and pushes his teammates with his winning mentality. Newcastle need this.

When you have a combination of players who are talented like this, they might surprise everyone even though they don’t have experience of the Champions League.

I think Newcastle could go as far as the quarter-finals. Psychologically when they play teams like Inter and Benfica, they won’t have that feeling to lift their level to their opponents. It’s during the game they will realise, wow they are good but then it’s too late and they have taken advantage.

When you play against Manchester City, whatever team is in front of you, you are ready and the day before you don’t sleep and you see the coach is nervous as he knows their level. But when it’s Newcastle they have an advantage because no one is expecting too much of them.

Arsenal’s Champions League Chances

I think Arsenal’s projection is more to winning the Premier League than thinking they have the ability to go for the Champions League. I think they will take it game by game, but I don’t believe Arsenal or Manchester United will project themselves to winning the Champions League.

They will go for it because they worked hard to qualify, but this season the focus is the league and deep down I don’t feel they have the squads to compete at both competitions to their maximum. It’s also the year of Euros qualifications, so there will be lots of games and implications and don’t forget we have the African Cup of Nations too.

Desailly’s Favourite Chelsea Teammates

It’s been 20 years since Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea in 2003, while you were playing for them. From all the recruits, who stood out for you?

In 2003, Chelsea were about to be taken over by Abramovich and then we were in the Champions League so he wanted to invest. We beat Liverpool to clinch it, and I remember straight after the takeover Peter Kenyon came from Manchester United and said guys, we have money. It’s not a joke. Crespo, Makelele, Lampard were already there too.

But the one player I really enjoyed playing with, although he didn’t really perform for Chelsea, was Juan Sebastian Veron. I was amazed by how he used the ball along with Zola. Tore Andre Flo was also an amazing talent, very close to Erling Haaland, but mentally he was not a killer like Haaland.

Duff Would Be Worth £120m In Today’s Market

Damien Duff was good too. I played against him when he was at Blackburn and wow, he was a storm to defend against on the left. But when he came to Chelsea, suddenly everything for him was under control and organised, there was a better system and you had to adapt to it. He could not really express his talent to the level he could have. But in today’s market, I think he’d be worth £120m.

Mutu Wasn’t A Killer Like Zidane

Adrian Mutu was good too, he was a good player. I love him, he’s my friend, but he’s not a killer like Zidane even though he’s a nice person. Totti too. All the best players are killers, Aguero and De Bruyne, but Mutu wasn’t that.

He was already a champion in Romania, he wasn’t ready to maintain and work hard to go to the next level. I was there when Mutu was tested, I was one of three players who was also tested. Mark Bosnich failed a test before that. I was one of the players tested too because I was close to Bosnich.

Mutu tested positive for cocaine and I was part of the three selected. My result was negative of course.

Mutu is one of those players who did not have the career that reflected his ability and how good he really was. He liked the nightlife. After a game, he was gone. He managed to come back into football through Juventus and Fiorentina, and I’m happy he has gone into coaching.

Desailly Weighs In On The Todd Boehly Era At Chelsea

I think people should leave Todd Boehly alone, look at what he’s achieved. Whatever step he is making, he has elements that we don’t have. As fans we want results now. He’s an investor and of course he’s looking for money.

Some fans say if they don’t win straight away, they want him to go. I’m just happy he has invested. Your team has not performed, and it’s not easy to identify the right person in the dugout. The players knew Lampard would not be there the next season.

We are now waiting to see how things will turn out under Boehly. But I am objective, I don’t see how Chelsea can get into the top-four this season, but it’s a matter of time.

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