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Patrick van Aanholt: I want to win and prove to Chelsea that they made a mistake

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Patrick van Aanholt arrived at Chelsea in 2007, but after a couple seasons in the reserves, spent most of the next seven years on numerous loan spells until his departure from Stamford Bridge in 2014 to Premier League club Sunderland. Unsurprisingly, the 25-year-old feels he didn't quite get his chance to prove his worth to Chelsea, though in fairness, he had the likes of Ashley Cole, Ryan Bertrand, Paulo Ferreira, and then later Cesar Azpilicueta to contend with.

"I feel I didn't really get a fair chance to prove myself at Chelsea. I was out on loan every year. You want to prove that they made a mistake. I didn't even train with Mourinho."

"When he was there, I was out on loan and when I came back in pre-season, I wasn't with the first-team. I wanted to leave and they put me with the reserves. I had a couple of meetings with him, but that was it."

"But Chelsea are a big team. They won't go down, that's for sure. They just need to get their heads together and focus on winning games. It's just a matter of time for that."

Van Aanholt didn't have a great start to the current season, committing a number of defensive mistakes that eventually cost him his starting spot at left back under Dick Advocaat's command. Now set up as a left-midfielder in Sam Allardyce's three-defender scheme, the Dutch player sees himself getting back to form by playing to his strengths.

"When I got my chance, I grabbed it. I had a bad start to the season, yes, and I think everybody knows that. But I proved everyone wrong that I can play in the Premier League, and, lately, I've been doing very well."

"You can say my confidence was affected. I lost a bit of form. But that happens to young players and it was up to myself to get back up. I told myself that I deserved to play. The change of system has been good for me."

"I love to go forward, that's my strength. And defensively, I've been solid as well in the last couple of games."

Sunderland are in dire straits this season, lying in the Premier League relegation zone with 12 points won in 16 games - although their struggles were expected. But given Chelsea's current form, Van Aanholt believes even a 19th-place team can beat the defending Premier League champions this season, though he remains confident that Chelsea will avoid the drop.

"Why can't we win at Stamford Bridge? Bournemouth have done it, so why can't we? Everybody is beating everybody in the Premier League this season. We can beat Chelsea."

"But Chelsea are a big team. They won't go down, that's for sure. They just need to get their heads together and focus on winning games. It's just a matter of time for that."

-Patrick van Aanholt; source: Sunderland Echo