For his first foray outside the Spanish league where he had spent his entire professional career to that point, former Barcelona winger Pedro decided to take his talents to Chelsea after the Blues successfully gazumped Manchester United for his signature. While his first season in the new country was far from successful, his second season is going quite well thus far.
Under the guidance of head coach Antonio Conte, Pedro already has six goals and six assists to his name in 22 Premier League appearances and has cemented himself as a regular starter for the side. He is in fact the first player who has successfully dislodged and has regularly kept Willian on the bench after three seasons of right wing dominance by the Brazilian.
As he reveals in the latest issue of Chelsea magazine, it took time for Pedro to learn football in England. Now that he has adapted, he is fully enjoying the ride.
"This is the best moment for me at this club, and also the best moment for the whole team since I’ve been here."
"I understand the Premier League more now. It’s very different compared to Spain but now I’m in my second year here and I understand the football. It’s quicker, more intense and more competitive."
"Spain is different. It’s more tactical, it’s more about passing the ball and developing something. Here it’s quicker when you attack, and everything is different. You have to change mentally and it’s difficult to adapt at first, but I have changed, I have done that now."
"Then, when you go back to play for the national team, you really feel this difference, you can see an improvement from the physical side. Spanish football is more about technique, about the touch of the ball and the way you play, but here in England you can add pace and power to your game."
Much of Pedro’s and Chelsea's success this season can be attributed to the work of Antonio Conte. The hard-working head coach is famous for his dedication and passion and he demands the same kind of qualities from his players.
"Always, in training, it is about hard work, especially with this coach, when we have to work on many aspects we will need during the games. We are running more, working hard on different situations that will come up and also working on shooting."
"So we are doing all these things in training, but the most important thing is that everybody is putting in the hard work. We are working together for the same things and it’s easier to focus in the games when you are playing with confidence."
Conte didn’t just change the fitness aspects; he’s also implemented a few tactical changes. For most of his career at both Barcelona and Chelsea, Pedro played as a full-fledged winger but Conte's 3-4-3, he (and Hazard) play in a more central position.
The switch from the wing to the half-space has made both Eden and Pedro very happy.
"I always think about how I can score a goal and help my team, so when I have a chance I try to score, I try to help my team – this is my job. I’m playing a lot more on the inside now than I was last season."
"I am getting on the ball and receiving passes more centrally, and getting in more goalscoring positions as well – obviously my team-mates are helping me to do this."
-Pedro; Source: Chelsea FC
Pedro had had an illustrious career already at both club and national team level before joining Chelsea, but it’s nice to see him rise to the challenge of playing in a new league and with a new team outside of his comfort zone. May he keep this up through the end of this season and beyond!