Glenn Johnson Southampton v Chelsea

Glen Johnson Interview

Speaking to DAZN Bet just hours after Chelsea’s dismissal of Graham Potter, ex-Blues star Glen Johnson detailed his surprise at the decision taken by new owner Todd Boehly. The ex-Premier League and England full-back also gave his prediction for Tuesday’s crunch clash between managerless Chelsea and a struggling Liverpool


What did you make of the decision to get rid of Graham Potter by Chelsea?

GJ: Well, it is bizarre to be honest with you. Obviously they haven’t been performing anywhere near as well as they are capable of, but surely the owners must have known Graham Potter isn’t the sort of manager that would come in and blow the doors off the dressing room and get everyone’s attention from day one?

He is a footballing man, and a pure coach, so it takes time for him to coach people. So you would like to think the owners would have known this was not an impact manager that was going to walk in and change everything overnight? The appointment was initially strange to some, so surely the only reason for the appointment was Chelsea giving him more time to implement his ideas?

He could have started to build the club, but it would have taken three or four years. To sack him now, they obviously wanted instant results and I don’t think Graham Potter was the right man for that. He’s a very good manager and a very good coach, but that takes time to put in place.

He’s not a manager that has been around winning Champions League titles, he’s very good at what he does but he just needed way more time. To walk in and turn that team around straight away, that was never going to happen.


Could Graham Potter rebuild himself at West Ham if David Moyes was to be sacked in the summer?

GJ: West Ham should not be where they are, first and foremost. I obviously don’t want to talk about a man’s job when he is still in the seat. But as a West Ham man, if Graham Potter signed, I think the majority of fans would be over the moon.

I think there will be plenty of mid-table teams, who haven’t got as much pressure on them to succeed as with Chelsea, who would definitely take Graham Potter. He needs a team that is willing to take time to improve and slowly work towards a game plan. Someone mid0-table would be more than happy to take him.


Is Todd Boehly’s lack of footballing knowledge costing Chelsea?

GJ: Well these football owners nowadays are extreme businessmen and definitely intelligent, but they aren’t super intelligent with everything they do. They have a select skillset, but for someone who hasn’t been in football for very long, like Boehly, you would have thought he would build a team around him who has that experience.

We don’t know who has pulled the plug, but I cannot imagine it would be just one man. Any top team would want Thomas Tuchel, they’d bite their arm off to have him. And it was Boehly’s first order of business to let him go. We know as soon as he bought the club, he didn’t want him there, because there simply wasn’t enough time for them to have fallen out.


How have Chelsea let themselves get into a situation where they have made a direct Champions League rival stronger?

GJ: This is the other thing, Bayern have obviously got world-class players who have been at that elite level, and now they have a world class manager who has also been at that level – that’s a dangerous combo.

It’s a bit mad, all of those top teams would love to have Tuchel managing them. You’ve gone from a top manager that has won things and been around the top and worked with top players, to then go to a very young manager, with lots of potential, but who has never managed a game in the Champions League.

What were you thinking? No disrespect to Graham Potter, but everything he is doing is all new to him as well.


What do you make of the possible candidates to replace Potter, who stands out?

GJ: When we talk about people walking through the doors and making an instant impact, blimey if Zidane walked through the doors at Stamford Bridge and into that dressing room – that’s a statement.

Whether or not he wants to do it is a different question, but I think that would excite everybody. It depends on where he is in his life at the moment, because I am pretty sure he is having a good time!

When you get top players that become top managers, there is nothing that man hasn’t done so that would be a huge impact and super exciting for anything involved with Chelsea.


What did you make of Liverpool vs Man City?

GJ: You have to address the gulf in quality between the two teams; that’s a bit scary from a Liverpool perspective. We know City are bloody good, so the result doesn’t worry me too much because they can do that to anyone on their day.

I think the worrying thing is how far off it they looked. There is no disgrace in losing to Man City, to lose by three goals isn’t great, but they just looked better in nearly every position. I know Liverpool went in front, but I don’t really think anyone believed they were going to hold on and win the game. There is just a really big gap at the moment between Arsenal and City and the rest of the league, City’s squad is just so much better than Liverpool’s right now.


How would you defend Jack Grealish at the moment, he’s starting to look like the £100m player that City paid for?

GJ: The thing that would annoy me most if I played against Jack, is that he doesn’t play like a typical winger. He doesn’t hug the touchline and look to go one-vs-one all the time, he plays the game. He wanders around, he’s a proper footballer.

He never looks to just always spring down the line and run you that way before putting a cross in, he may try and do that and if it doesn’t work, he wanders around. You can’t just follow him, because if Trent starts to follow him into midfield for instance, he would get slaughtered for being out of position.

The only way to defend against someone like that is you have to do it as a team, you have to switch markers on him when he comes into midfield like that, or else he can pull you apart.


How can Trent Alexander-Arnold get his confidence back and return to his usual high standards?

GJ: He needs to consider not being as aggressive when he tries to defend. Sometimes he makes the wrong decisions against someone who is quick, and gets caught out that way.

If you’re trying to press aggressively and you’re not confident that you’re actually in the right position, then you end up not going full throttle. So then you’re stuck and end up second guessing yourself.

He almost needs to allow people to have the ball, wait a little while and then when he starts getting close to people and intercepting stuff, it will give him confidence. It’s almost a case of holding back a little bit and going with baby steps. Get your first tackle, make the first simple pass and then build on everything from there.

Before you know it, he’s putting in amazing crosses and passes and he is back to his best and doing what we all know he can do.


Has Jurgen Klopp taken this Liverpool team as far as he can?

GJ: I definitely think he is still the man to do it, for sure. He hasn’t lost his ability to coach or motivate players. When Liverpool were at their best, their pressing was ridiculous and God knows what their running numbers were.

It’s so hard to maintain that level with the same group of players that he has had there. They almost need to rebuild and get some new players in who buy into his philosophy in the same way most of this group of players did from day one.

They’re almost back in the same position they were when he signed; it’s like he is back in the position again and he has to rebuild and get the club back to loftier heights. He has to rebuild that team, motivate them again and that might be with a lot more faces.

This team can’t be struggling in the current position they are in, they are way better than that. And he is still the same coach that achieved so much with this team, maybe even over-achieving.