Interim Southampton boss Ruben Selles wants the job on a permanent basis and believes he is as capable as any other candidate ahead of beginning his audition at Chelsea.
Selles will lead the Premier League’s bottom club at Stamford Bridge following a turbulent week which saw the sacking of Nathan Jones and failed talks with former Leeds boss Jesse Marsch.
The 39-year-old Spaniard has held various coaching roles across Europe during his career, including in Greece, Azerbaijan and Denmark, but is yet to be a full-time manager.
He had a one-match stint as Saints caretaker earlier this season – a penalty shoot-out victory over League One Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup – before Jones was confirmed as successor to Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“I’ve been feeling ready for the last four years, so it’s no different now, it’s just the scenario is bigger than it was before,” he said of becoming a manager.
“But I feel comfortable, I think I’m an honest person, I try to be very clear with what we do and I think I’ve built myself up to be here with you today.
“I’ve been through all the levels in football, not in England but in the rest of the world, and that is a learning path that I’ve very proud of.
“I have a lot of personal experience, coaching hours, so I think it’s a natural thing.
“I want to be the manager. I think I’m as capable of doing that as any other, but it’s not my decision. I have the team now and we are really working hard to do our best.
“The club will have the patience to make a decision and they will make a decision but, of course, I will be more than happy to do the job.”
Jones was dismissed in the wake of a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to 10-man Wolves, which prompted anger from disgruntled supporters.
That loss – a seventh from eight top-flight games under the Welshman – left Southampton four points from safety with 16 games remaining and with just four wins all season.
Selles hopes to unite the struggling south-coast club and believes they have a squad capable of avoiding relegation.
“When I communicate with the players – and it was the same last time with Ralph – I tell them ‘I know sometimes these situations are temporary but I’m going to take it like I’m going to be here for the next 10 years’,” he said
“So I need everybody to follow and work as hard as they can in the same direction; from the security team to the captain.
“I think we have a group that is capable of staying in the Premier League.”
Big-spending Chelsea are languishing in mid-table amid an ongoing struggle to score goals.
Speaking of Graham Potter’s side, Selles said: “It always takes a little bit of time to assemble a squad like that.
“But they’ve got a really good manager, very talented in the game plans that they do.
“And for us it’s just to prepare a game in terms of what we are going to do and to have the details of how they can hurt us.
“We trust in what we can be and we trust that we will be ready for almost any scenario.”
Forward Che Adams is an injury doubt ahead of the trip to west London, while defenders Juan Larios and Tino Livramento remain long-term absentees.