It’s has not been a perfect season at Chelsea, far from it, but things could get a fair bit worse in the next few months if Chelsea fail to qualify for the Champions League, don’t get the transfer ban suspended, and the likes of Eden Hazard end up leaving the club.
The question of Hazard’s future has been hanging over the team since last summer, when he strongly hinted at wanting a new challenge, but we’ve been holding out hope that he would eventually be convinced to sign his contract extension. With Zinedine Zidane’s re-appointment at Real Madrid last weekend, it’s now quickly become almost an accepted fact that Hazard will leave after the end of the season. But you never know in football, and Hazard’s teammates, including Willian in the pre-match conference yesterday in Kiev, remain hopeful that he will stay in the end.
“First of all, I hope he stays with us but in football you never know what can happen. Of course, Eden is a fantastic player, one of the best players in the world. He is my friend, one of the best players I played [with] in my whole career. I just have to say I hope he stays with us.
“No doubt, he is focused here. He wants to play, to help us win something this season. He never said something about Real Madrid or stuff like this, he just wants to continue to play for Chelsea.”
If Hazard has his mind made up to leave, most of his performances certainly haven’t shown it. It’s tough to imagine where Chelsea would be without him, not just this season but in the last seven seasons.
One player who has garnered slightly less universal acclaim, to say the least, has been Jorginho. For better or worse, the summer signing has been central to Sarri-ball for the past four years, but that has unfortunately meant that he’s been a lightning rod for the fans’ ire at Stamford Bridge when results turned against the Blues. Some of that reaction, especially when aimed at just individual players, has certainly been a bit over the top however...
“I think this is unfair from [the fans]. Of course I don’t want to stay here talking about this situation but when they do that we don’t feel good inside the pitch.
“Even when the players aren’t in a good moment or don’t play well, we need the fans to support us until the end of the game. Jorginho is very important for us, a very good player, we know his quality, so we just need to continue to play in the same way.”
To his credit, Jorginho has redoubled his efforts to, as he put it, “prove his worth”, and in the last six games, as Chelsea’s results have improved, so has the perception of his qualities.
But Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Wolves was a stern reminder that there is still a long ways to go to achieve the season’s minimum objectives. Today, the objective is simple: finish the job against Dynamo Kiev, and don’t let the bad pitch affect things.
“The pitch is not the best but we don’t have to think about that, we have to [just] win this game. The pitch will be bad for both teams, we know that, so we just have to do our job. It will be difficult to play our football but we have to forget this and do our best.
“We have to take care of ourselves tomorrow. Sometimes that’s not possible, sometimes you get an injury but I hope tomorrow we can play well and win this game. [It] it will be very difficult and our target is to win and qualify.”
“We know how difficult it is going to be, totally different from the first leg. They have a good team, and if we’re not 100 per cent concentrated we will be in trouble. We have to go with the same mentality as the first leg and win the game tomorrow.”
Another free kick special, then?
“My job [is] to score goals and help my team win the games [and] I hope to score one more tomorrow!”
-Willian; source: Chelsea FC