A little over two months after walking off the Wembley pitch as FA Cup winners, Chelsea will walk on to a pitch in Perth, Australia to play the first pre-season match of 2018-19. The magnitude of the occasion won’t be quite the same, but there will be plenty of things to look forward to, including just the fact that Chelsea football will be back! (Sort of.)
Fans and players alike are eager to get a first glimpse of the club under Maurizio Sarri’s tutelage. And although there’s been very little time to prepare, veteran midfielder Cesc Fàbregas is quite excited for the fresh start in his 16th season of professional football.
“...it’s a new start for me and the players with a new manager. We all need to prove ourselves, we need to show him what we can do, that you deserve to play, and we are very excited about it.
”I have been playing now for 15 years and when you have a new manager you always try to give your best to make sure he sees your qualities and that you want to play. You need to show that every day and in every training. For everyone it’s an exciting time; we start from zero and see what we can do.
“We want to win things and for us the preparation is very important starting on Monday. Let’s see if we can get the result and if we can get the ideas of the coach soon and start strong.”
Sarri marked his introductory Chelsea press conference with an emphasis on “fun”. He wants his team to play an attractive style of football and enjoy themselves on the pitch, no matter if his team are relegation-threatened, like at Empoli, or title-aspiring, like at Napoli,
For Barca- and Arsenal-bred Cesc, who has played under Mourinho and Conte the last four seasons, that is surely sweet heavenly music. For us, it might be a novelty; for him, it is the opportunity to go back to his roots.
“Fantastic! It is a way of football that I believe in, that I really like. I grew up in this system, in this quality of football that he wants to bring to the club. I think for the type of player like myself, we can take a lot of advantages.
”We just have to train very hard, be united, be a team, and then whatever he decides in how we play we will need to figure it out on the pitch and try to win trophies, which is the main thing.
”Of course, we want to play well, and we want to be attractive, but we want to win as well so it’s an important season in front of us.”
At Napoli, Sarri did not need star players to successfully implement his system. In fact, it could be argued he turned players such as Gonzalo Higuaín, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne into great talents with his player development skills and systematic approach to coaching.
At Chelsea, he will have the benefit of at least one world-class talent in Eden Hazard ... assuming that he stays of course. Fàbregas isn’t alone in hoping that to be the case.
“I won’t lie, I speak to him, yes. I think he is our best player. I think Chelsea needs to keep their best players. We are a top club, we want to be a top team and we want to win things, you need your best players and Eden is one of them.
“He knows here that everyone loves him – the fans, the players…we need him. He knows that, for sure.
“I don’t know what’s in his mind but definitely from our point of view he is a very, very important player for us. He is a player that we all love to play with, especially me, and hopefully the club is to decide and Eden is to decide [his future].
“But for us he is our most important player and for sure we want him to stay.”
-Cesc Fàbregas; Source: Football.London
So say we all.