Chelsea decided to sack Graham Potter after the 2-0 loss to Aston Villa, with his assistant coach Bruno Saltor taking over as interim manager. The English gaffer was on thin ice after the latest defeat, which meant the Blues had only won 3 out of their 13 games in 2023.
This marks Chelsea’s second managerial sacking of the season so far after they had also fired Thomas Tuchel towards the start of the campaign too. They paid over £21 million to Brighton to not only bring Potter but his entire backroom staff with him to Stamford Bridge at the start of a new era under new ownership.
However, things went from bad to worse quickly. The Blues have struggled to impress since the World Cup break, getting eliminated from the FA Cup and falling to the bottom half of the Premier League table. They’re 12 points behind the top-4 and face a major challenge in the form of Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.
After a lot of social media backlash, the Chelsea owners finally opted to part ways with Potter and have appointed Saltor in an interim role. He’s likely to be replaced once the club finds Potter’s successor but has a big job ahead.
Did Bruno Saltor have a successful playing career?
Bruno had a nearly two-decade-long playing career and spent the majority of it playing in Spain. A graduate of Espanyol’s youth academy, he made his La Liga debut in the 2001-02 season with the Barcelona-based club.
His first breakthrough season came with Spanish side Lieda, whom he helped get promoted from the Segunda Division to La Liga at the end of the 2003/04 season. He also went on to have lengthy stints at clubs like Almeria and Valencia, making over 100 appearances in La Liga.
Bruno was a right-back in his playing career and joined Brighton in 2012. He was a stalwart in their team for the majority of their seasons in the Championship and part of the team that got promoted to the Premier League in 2017.
Saltor made over 220 appearances for the Seagulls and over 600 appearances across his club career. He’s considered a Brighton legend, having even been in the PFA Championship Team of the Year on two different occasions. However, he didn’t ever get to represent Spain at an international level.
Bruno’s close connections to Brighton fans
Bruno became a beloved figure at Brighton for his dedication to the club during their highs and lows. He even earned the nickname ‘El Capitan’ for being an inspirational leader for the Seagulls and playing a big part in taking them from the depths of the Championship to a relevant position in the Premier League.
Brighton fans loved him so much that to mark their first season in the Premier League in 2017, they created a brilliant mural for him that year. It was placed in the Gelato Gusto in the North Laine at Brighton, with a huge ‘El Capitan’ mural created showing his face wearing a king’s crown.
That mural, however, was defaced by rival Crystal Palace supporters later this year. This forced a trend to emerge of #bringBrunoBack from Rob Hill, the CEO of The Stag Company. As a result, fans united to help create an ever bigger, life-sized mural of Bruno with the caption ‘Once A Seagull, Always a Seagull’ written on it.
Saltor was delighted with that and remained a fan favorite in the city…..until he decided to leave with Potter last year. This was taken as a sign of betrayal and that life-sized mural of Bruno has been defaced and ruined since then.
Bruno’s coaching career explained
Since he retired from football in 2019, Bruno has been working with Graham Potter as an assistant coach. He worked as a senior player development coach at Brighton before moving to Chelsea with the Englishman.
Bruno’s work was to work individually with some players and use his expertise to help them improve certain parts of their games. He also helped some players learn the ways of Potter’s tactical style.
He arrived with the English gaffer at Chelsea in September 2022 and became a key part of his backroom staff. The assistant coach worked closely with the Chelsea players and being the senior-most remaining coach from Potter’s staff, he’s been given the keys to manage Chelsea for the immediate future.
The problem, however, is that Bruno has zero managerial experience. While he’s worked well as an assistant coach, he’s never actually managed a club in his career. That’s why the prospect of press conferences and tactically setting up his side can be new for him.
Saltor is unlikely to remain Chelsea’s manager for long. But the intimidating, bald Spaniard aims to ensure that he can at least get the Blues out of the dumps and get them back to winning games consistently until a new manager arrives.