Paulo Ferreira knows a bit about success, having won a glorious haul of trophies during his playing career at Porto and Chelsea, as well as gaining 62 caps for Portugal. He may have been on the bench for the Champions League final in 2012 (unlike for Porto’s victory in 2004, when he played the full 90 minutes), but the Blues’ triumph remains one of his fondest memories.
“It was unbelievable, playing against a top side, a side that lost the final two seasons before – and who were at home [in 2012], so their expectation is to win the final as well.” he told FourFourTwo.
Ferreira puts the surprising success down to expectation being eased from a squad that had come agonisingly close to Champions League glory in the past. “It wasn't the best season...” he explains. “Maybe when everyone was not expecting to see Chelsea win, you know [why] we win the competition.”
Having got his own hands on the big-eared trophy once before, Ferreira was particularly pleased for some of his Chelsea team-mates. “That was really important to us. Petr Cech, John Terry, [Frank] Lampard, Didier Drogba – players that had been together so long and we were almost there, almost there. You are starting to get old too, so are wondering whether you are going to get a chance to win this again. So I was really happy for them to win this trophy.”
Rather than looking out for the club’s senior players, however, Ferreira is now using his experience to bring through the club’s next generation in his role looking after Chelsea’s network of loan players.
The London club had 37 players out on loan earlier this year – including hugely talented England U21 international Tammy Abraham at Bristol City and 20-year-old Izzy Brown, who’s been impressing in Huddersfield’s run in the Championship. The overall task of tending to them is a full-time job for three men.
“At the moment me, Eddie Newton - an ex-player – and Joe Edwards are in charge of all the players. So each of us has a number of players we need to follow and support as much as we can,” says Ferreira.
“We have a year plan, so every month we know which player we are visiting. Of course, when I am not travelling, I am in the office watching all the games I haven't been able to watch in the weekend when I went to visit a player... The board wants to know what is going on with all players.
Ferreira also insists that – despite the challenges of getting into a first-team squad as strong as Chelsea’s – that this is the bar he sets for all of the players he’s looking after.
”I have players from different positions, but fortunately I've played different positions and know all of them – apart from goalkeeper, that I didn't play! So, as I know all the positions, it's easy for me to help a player – but it's difficult to come back and play for the first team.
“However we know that there are a few positions that can be filled, so we try to push all of them. We never know if the manager wants to bring in a new player, a loan player, so we have to keep pushing all of them.
“The idea is to bring as many of them as we can to the first team.”
Keep up that positive attitude, Paulo. FFT would be happy to be your loan player, any time.
Paulo will be hosting an exclusive screening of the Manchester United vs Chelsea match this Sunday in the Carabao Energy Drinks’ Legend Lounge. To win a seat and watch the game with Paulo visit: @CarabaoUK for more details
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