Eriksson explains how close he came to managing PL champion

Date published: Thursday 14th May 2020 10:16

Sven-Goran Eriksson has explained how close he came to taking over Blackburn in the 1990s, before almost managing Manchester United and Chelsea in the mid-2000s.

Eriksson made an indelible mark on English football as manager of the national team from 2001 to 2006, then at Manchester City from 2007 to 2008.

But the Swede was linked with Manchester United in 2002 and Chelsea two years later, and admits he “regrets” not lasting longer in the Premier League.

“Well if you talk about regrets, yes. Of course,” he told Sky Sports.

“I would have liked to stay longer in the Premier League. At that time and today, the Premier League is the biggest and best in the world. There is no competition.

“If I could have stayed there for a couple of years more, who knows what would have happened? I think in less than one year after I left, the new owners came in and life changed totally for City.”

Quote/unquote: Sven is celebrating life, Kaiser

Asked specifically about speculation that he almost replaced Ray Harford as Blackburn manager in 1996, Eriksson explained that he had agreed to take over at Ewood Park but had to ask owner Jack Walker for permission to renege on the deal after an approach from Lazio.

“I signed the contract,” he said. “And I met Mr Walker, who was the big boss at that time. I signed the contract and I went back to Sampdoria where I still worked.

“I agreed to take over in a year. When I came back a couple of days later, Lazio phoned me. That was a difficult decision but I tried to convince Mr Walker to please let us destroy this contract. I wanted to go to Lazio.

“After a couple of meetings with him, he said, ‘OK, I understand’. He cancelled the contract. He was a great man and no hard feelings. But it was very close.”

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