We may be only one month in, but this season already feels drastically different than any other since Roman Abramovich acquired Chelsea in 2003. Given that the circumstances are extraordinary as well, with youth replacing experience in the squad as well as the coaching staff, not to mention the departure of several key players and big personalities, and of course the transfer ban preventing the usual method of reinvention, Chelsea have been forced into a true rebuilding year and that dreaded word, project.
But as much as this situation is likely to result in standards and expectations and results dropping a few levels, for the players, the ambitions and the traditions remain the same as ever. The targets, as always, are wins, titles, and trophies — especially for those who have been around for a while and had gotten used to all the celebrations, like Willian.
“I think Chelsea can win some titles this season. I know it will be hard this season to win titles, as usual, it is always hard. It is difficult when you lose players like David Luiz, Eden Hazard, but we have some quality young players here who can improve a lot and in the future become one of the best players in the league. I think we have a great team.
”But Chelsea is a big club and this shirt is heavy. When Chelsea go into a competition we go to win. It does not matter the players, it does not matter the coach, every year we want to win something, and I think this year we can do it again.”
Willian has had a rough couple months, as he was forced out of the Copa America semifinal with a hamstring injury from which he’s only now finishing his recovery. He’s missed most of preseason and faces a challenge to convince new head coach Frank Lampard that there is still plenty of quality left in those 31-year-old legs — and perhaps earn a new contract along the way with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.
“It has been good to work with him[Lampard]. He is a great man. The quality of training has been good. Of course we have to give some time to adapt, it is a new profile, a new philosophy, but I think we will adapt.
“I had an injury when I was at Copa America and I needed some time in training to recover, but now I am 100 per cent, I have to continue to train hard and when I have time to play I have to play well.”
- Willian; source: Sky Sports
Chelsea have two huge games coming up in the Premier League, against Wolves (away) and Liverpool (home), sandwiching a Champions League fixture against Valencia in a week’s time as well. Willian will surely have plenty of time to show that his new No.10 shirt isn’t just set decoration.