Luis Enrique was ‘disappointed’ by Chelsea’s decision to appoint Frank Lampard as caretaker head coach as he wanted to take over immediately and have a shot at Real Madrid.
Chelsea resisted the temptation to appoint a permanent manager after sacking Graham Potter at the start of the month, choosing to bring back Lampard to Stamford Bridge as interim boss until the end of the campaign.
Julian Nagelsmann – who was recently sacked by Bayern Munich – was reportedly keen to wait until the summer to make a decision on his next job, but according to AS, Enrique wanted to take over at Chelsea immediately.
It is reported Chelsea’s decision to hire Lampard on a temporary basis ‘disappointed’ Enrique, who wanted the opportunity to take on Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
Under Lampard, Chelsea suffered a 2-0 defeat to Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu and now face an uphill battle to qualify for the semi-finals.
Enrique had two spells at Spain after spending three years at Barcelona, in which he won two La Liga titles and Champions League.
Despite Enrique’s frustration that he was unable to join Chelsea last week, the former Barca manager remains one of the frontrunners to be Potter’s long-term replacement.
Enrique had a video call with Chelsea bosses last week before travelling to London for in-person discussions with the club hierarchy, including Todd Boehly.
Nagelsmann could still beat Enrique to the Chelsea job but Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta has hinted he wants his former Spain coach to take over.
Speaking to Spanish outlet EFE, the defender spoke about the managerial situation at Chelsea, saying: ‘There are parts [of the club] who negotiate, that we trust with doing what is best for the club. We will see what happens.’
When asked if he liked the idea of Enrique or indeed any Spanish manager being appointed, the 33-year-old said: ‘My best games with the national team were with him as coach.’