In his decade-long career in Ukraine (Shakhtar Donetsk) and England, Willian has faced one team more often than any other, by some distance. Thursday’s match against Dynamo Kiev was the 23rd (!) time he’s played them in all competitions. It was his 15th win against them (against 5 losses) but only his 3rd goal (which goes a bit against this narrative but whatever).
Of course, two of those three goals, the two he’s scored in Chelsea colors, have been practically carbon copies of each other, which is why the narrative exists.
Or just practice.
“The position [of both goals] was very similar. I have liked to play against them since I was at Shakhtar! It was a beautiful goal, it was the same when I scored against them three years ago.”
“To score goals like that you have to practise during the week. I practise in training. I kicked the ball well and it was a beautiful goal.”
Of course, it isn’t just free kicks where practice makes perfect.
At the end of the match, when Callum Hudson-Odoi combined with Ruben Loftus-Cheek to score Chelsea’s third and final goal of the night, there was still a lingering feeling that the scoreline should have been far more favourable for the Blues.
Pedro, who had a Man of the Match performance, squandered several clear cut chances. Fortunately, Dynamo squandered all of their opportunities as well. But there is still the second leg to play in Ukraine next week, and as we’ve seen in European competition this season, just about anything and everything can happen.
“The team played well, but we need to be more clinical. In the first half it could have been 3-0 to us, we missed some chances, but we did the job, and now we have to go to Kiev and finish the job. We are halfway to the next round. If you don’t go there with the same mentality, 100 per cent, if you think the game will be easy, in football you never know.”
The ultimate goal is to reach the final. Everyone is looking forward to another trophy, and Maurizio Sarri is looking forward to his first.
“We know our target. We want to get to the final. We have to go step by step. It’s difficult to play against any team, and it will be more difficult in the quarter-final, the semi-final, the final.”
But that’s six games away. In the meantime, there are ten “finals” left on the Premier League schedule as well. To reach the ultimate target of returning to the Champions League, Chelsea can either finish in the top four, or win the Europa League.
¿Porque no los dos?
“We had a difficult moment, but now we are improving. We are solid defensively and offensively as well. After City [away] we learned a lot.”
“We know it’s very difficult to win games in the Premier League and finish the league well, but we have to have the same mentality in every game.”
“Sunday will be difficult again. We need to prepare well and to win because we want to get in the top four.”
-Willian; Source: Chelsea FC