Marcos Alonso took the field on Tuesday after just one training session and three missed matches. As Chelsea’s undisputed left wing-back, his presence wasn’t exactly a surprise, but there was a shadow of doubt about his availability after so little fitness work.
Marcos Alonso had no doubt, as he told Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella.
“I have been working hard to get back today and I am happy to help the team again.”
Until Emerson Palmieri arrived in January, Alonso had been Chelsea’s main and really only option on the left flank. He’s logged an exhausting 35 games so far, between the League (25 appearances,) the Champions League (6), the FA Cup (1), the League Cup (2), and the Community Shield (1). That’s exactly as many games as he played for Chelsea last season (in addition to 2 for Fiorentina at the start of the season). He’s on course for over 40 appearances for the first time in his career, joining several other key players in the squad, like N’Golo Kanté and Álvaro Morata, in being new to that kind of workload.
Kanté and Morata have already taken their hamstring injury turns, but Alonso is confident he’s in good shape despite the recent minor knocks (an unspecified muscle injury and a twisted ankle).
“Just a couple of weeks out is not that bad after playing more than 30 games already. It wasn’t a break, it was a little injury, but this can happen and it is good that I can recover very quickly and now I am ready for the next game.”
It’s hard to overstate how important No.3 has been for Chelsea this season. His seven goals make him the Blues’ fifth leading scorer — fourth, really, since the man immediately above him on the list, Michy Batshuayi, is now trying to figure what the big deal is with sauerkraut.
As far as the game itself on Tuesady, Alonso is just as bullish as his teammates are about the performance, even if the result turned on an unfortunate mistake.
”I think we controlled the game well. We defended very well and I am a bit disappointed to not take the victory, but we take away the positive stuff. We showed we can play and we can win against a big team like Barcelona.
”[Mistakes] can happen to everyone in any game. We had to try to play because we can’t just counterattack for 90 minutes and it is just a mistake. It has not been a very good season so far for Chelsea but it has been a good season for [Andreas].
”When we win, we win together; when we draw, we draw together.”
Up next are two supremely tough away matches against the current royalty of English football, Manchester United on Sunday and City right behind them. Oh, and the Blaugrana again in three weeks.
Alonso is ready, willing and even eager to get going.
”We have no fear. We have important games now in the Premier League, we have to focus on that but then we have to prepare for this game well. We must try to play another good game there and see what happens.
”We will have to take all the positive things and put in an extra shift in Barcelona because it will be even more difficult. But we definitely can do it and we will fight until the end.”
-Marcos Alonso; source: Goal
The Chelsea players are, to a man, fully believing in the power of positive thinking, turning a frustrating result into a confidence-inspiring occasion. They’re right in a season, as the match showed that Chelsea can certainly compete at the highest level, just as Conte had hoped and wanted.
But the final analysis will depend greatly on the next few results as well. Confidence, spirit, motivaiton, belief all seem to be good. Let’s hope that this home draw does indeed become a turning point for the season.
This TEAM will fight until the very end...#together #WeAreChelsea #lastsixteen #UCL @ChelseaFC— Marcos Alonso (@marcosalonso03) February 21, 2018
Este EQUIPO luchará hasta el final...#juntos #WeAreChelsea #octavos #UCL @ChelseaFC pic.twitter.com/HeFwqGh6je