Thibaut COurtois has missed the last few months due to injury, but he's certainly aware that Chelsea have struggled mightily in his absence. Speaking at the press conference ahead of Chelsea's match against Porto for the Champions League, Courtois made it clear that Chelsea, who need only a draw to advance, will 'play to win' tomorrow's game even if some players in the squad aren't performing up to par this season:
"If you play just to draw you never know what can happen in the last minute. We will play to win. Every footballer wants to win their games and it will be same tomorrow. We want to give our fans a victory because this season we've lost too many games at home and it shouldn't be like that."
"All the players have to improve our level, we are a team but sometimes individually we haven't been at our best. If everybody gets to their top level we will start winning games. Sometimes in a season you have months when you are at a higher level. You might have eight players at a top level and three a bit down but this season maybe it's been the other way around and it's more difficult, but we are still the same players from last season."
"When results haven't been good, sometimes we've been unlucky with the goals we've conceded, we haven't scored or maybe there's been a wrong decision by the referee. I don't think it's a lack of confidence but we are trying to do our best. Against Bournemouth we had a lot of chances to score, we didn't score and then they got a goal so it was a blow. Everybody has the confidence for tomorrow's game to try and make sure we finish first in the group."
People have been wondering whether the blame for the team's poor results over the last months lie solely on Chelsea manager José Mourinho, on the players or on the entire team. Courtois said the entire team - including the club staff - still backs the manager, and that they are doing all they can to improve on their performances and consequently on their results:
"Who says we don't have the same commitment? Results don't say we are not committed to the manager. Sometimes we have been better than other teams and still lost, that doesn't say anything about our commitment, results are just not there."
"We are still confident in the manager, we are one team and we are trying to get out of it with him. Everybody's free to think what they want but we are trying to work the same way as we did last season, when we were champions and won the Capital One Cup. Results are not good and we are aware of that, we need to improve as a team."
"It's easy to say it's only the manager but every player, every member of the technical staff has to get better and then we will be near the top again. We have to keep working hard in training. Tomorrow we have to put in a good performance in front of our fans and win the game. Hopefully that will give us a boost ahead of our match against Leicester on Monday, that's another important one and hopefully we can get on a winning streak."
Regarding the recent Chelsea debacle over continuing to take their chances in the Champions League or aiming for a perceived easier target in an Europa League title, the goalkeeper don't see the Blues as a side to dispute the "alternative" continental competition - even if winning it means an easier path to a Champions League berth next season:
"We are a team to play in the Champions League and go as far as we can. We are confident for tomorrow that we will get the win and finish first in the group. I've won [the Europa League] with Atletico so it's nice if you are in a team who find the Champions League more difficult, but for Chelsea our goal has to be to win the Champions League, so obviously we don't want to play in the Europa League."
-Thibaut Courtois; Source: Chelsea FC