Swansea City assistant coach Claude Makelele is ready for a Chelsea reunion
23rd February 2017
Claude Makelele makes an emotional return to Chelsea this weekend, but hopes his current club can upset the Premier League leaders on his former stomping ground.
The French legend spent five years at Stamford Bridge, winning two Premier League titles along with lifting the FA Cup twice and the League Cup during 217 appearances.
Now working under former Blues assistant manager Paul Clement at Swansea City, Makelele heads back "home" ready for a reunion.
"Chelsea gave me a lot in my career," acknowledged Makelele. "Now I go there not as an enemy, but as an opponent who works for a different club.
"The fans of Chelsea understand I am on a different side now, but I can't and won't forget my time there.
"I see two clubs - Real Madrid and Chelsea - as my home. I am happy to go 'home' on Saturday.
"But my focus now is with Swansea, and hopefully we will get a good result there
"It will be a difficult game. To win at that stadium is very difficult - it's one of the most difficult places to win in the Premier League.
"We need to be 100 per cent for 90 minutes, and if we do that then anything is possible.
"Forget about the table - that's the first thing Paul will tell them."
The Swans have risen from bottom of the Premier League to four points clear of the relegation zone since Clement's appointment last month.
Clement, who held a number of roles during two stints with Chelsea, was named January's Manager of the Month following victories at Crystal Palace and Liverpool along with a home victory over Southampton.
Last time out, the Swans saw off defending league champions Leicester City 2-0 at the Liberty.
The results underline the progress made under Clement, though Makelele is also playing his part.
"This is an exciting new challenge for me being in Wales," said Makelele, who had worked alongside Clement at Paris Saint-Germain.
"I'd never been to the country before, and it is a very nice experience for me.
"I am back working with Paul again, and that's something I've really enjoyed.
"Paul makes his team work hard and he passes on his experience as he has been at a number of clubs.
"He gives all the small details that players need. He gives 100 per cent to the club."
Makelele's influence, too, has certainly helped Swansea's resurgence since he arrived.
A player who perfected the defensive midfield position so well that pundits named it the 'Makelele Role', his job now is to pass on his wisdom to Jack Cork and co.
"Any team in the world depends on the balance, and that starts in midfield," Makelele pointed out.
"When you have a good balance in midfield, it means the midfielder is helping the defence and the striker.
"When you play in midfield it is not easy - it is a sacrifice for the team and your team-mates. You must run for 90 minutes and not make a mistake.
"All the details I give about this position are very clear. Sometimes you lose because the opposition is better than you on the day, but you must always work hard in the same way. If you do that then you will be successful.
"When you play in midfield you must love it. For the manager, this position is key - not in all games, but for some games.
"I explained to the players that I loved playing this position for 20 years, and now this role is better understood and appreciated.
"And, of course, I try to pass on my knowledge and experience to help them in any way I can. That is something I really enjoy as it helps the team."
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