Holland: “Jose was fantastic to me, it was a privilege…”

Holland: “Jose was fantastic to me, it was a privilege…”

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Jose Mourinho and his backroom staff at Chelsea © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea assistant first team coach Steve Holland was in charge of the team today and spoke to the press after the win against Sunderland.

First of all, the ex Mourinho assistant underlined the importance of this victory

It was a very important three points for the club today,’ he began.

“Our league position is very poor. Had we lost we would have gone in to the bottom three so it’s a very important three points.

“We are going day by day and game by game. We are in a poor position in the league. That’s been improved slightly today. The priority has to be to rescue what we can of our season in the Premier League. How high we can go, I don’t know.

“You saw some signs today in the first half of what the players are capable of. We still have the FA Cup and the Champions League, two competitions we can compete for, and we have to try and do the best thing possible in the Premier League. The focus is very clear.”

Holland also revealed what he said to the players before the game:

“Whatever their feelings were regarding the situation they had a responsibility to the football club and its supporters all round the world.

We have quality players, I have no doubt about that, and the players care. They had to show that on the pitch.”

Holland was asked what he made of the receptions given to Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa when they were substituted

“Clearly the supporters have a right to voice their opinion. It’s been a difficult few days for everybody. I’ll be happy to park this game and try and look forward.

“From my point of view thinking of this game I was happy with their contribution hence why I applauded them when they came off. I felt they deserved that for their performance.”

Eden Hazard was not in the matchday squad having been withdrawn at Leicester after picking up a knock

“He was injured and not available for selection so whatever the game he was not fit to play. He came out on Friday [in training], he tried and he lasted minutes. He was in too much discomfort and pain.”

Steve also paid tribute to Jose Mourinho:

“Jose and his coaching staff have all been fantastic to me, Jose particularly. On a day like Thursday it’s particularly sad.

“Jose has invited me out for a meal next week. Our relationship is excellent. He would recognise I gave him everything and I would recognise that not only is he an exceptional coach but he’s an exceptional person. It was a privilege and a pleasure to work with him.”

Holland also revealed he met new manager Guus Hiddink for the first time after the game

“I am sure [the details of my role under him] will evolve over the next few days. It’s an honour to work for a club like Chelsea. It’s a huge club all round the world. This is my seventh season here. I am a club appointment which means at these times particularly it can be difficult. You get connected with guys that come in.

“Guus has not spoken to the players collectively but he has spoken individually to some who were still around at the point he arrived [in the dressing room after the match].”