Marc Cucurella readily agrees that his first season at Chelsea last year did not live up to anyone’s expectations, the team’s, the fans’, or his own.
Having experienced a rapid rise in his career after deciding to strike out on his own from Barcelona’s La Masia academy, last season was a harsh reality check as things hit the skids professionally. And Cucurella admits that he was not quite able to handle that downturn mentally, which in turn affected his performances even more, which in turn affected his mentality even more ... all in a negative feedback loop that certainly wasn’t helped by all the changes and constant churn in general at the club.
But the 25-year-old is in a better place now, first and foremost mentally, and he credits that foundation for his improved performances on the pitch (including as an emergency right back).
“I’m not happy with my first season, but I can learn a lot, especially in the bad moments. I can learn when I need to manage the head because that is so important in football.
“Before I came here, I always played and played well and never had problems like this [but] when I came, I didn’t play at my level, I’m a little bit frustrated and I can learn to manage this.”
“[...] I think this season is better. I’m very good mentally and I think this is one of the important things because if you are good mentally and in your life, I think you can you can play better, you can help the team and you can enjoy this.”
Cucurella began the season pretty much at the bottom of the pecking order among Chelsea’s numerous left backs. Injuries and suspensions gave him a few extra opportunities, and he’s made the most of those, giving Mauricio Pochettino a few different options at the back.
That’s not to say that Cucu’s undroppable or even a guaranteed starter, but he’s certainly earning his chances to play. He played the second 45 against Spurs as a half-time sub, and had started six in a row before then.
“All the players want to play, but the most important thing is if you don’t play, you need to train well. If you don’t play and then you don’t train, you won’t be ready then when you have the opportunities.
“So I try to do this, training to be ready and I’m prepared when I have the opportunity without pressure. When I have the opportunity, I try to do my best, I have a good level and then it’s our continuity. I’m feeling good and I try to help the team when the manager decides.”
“I think I can improve a lot of things. I think the first one is scoring goals because I have chances, but I never score. In training, I score a lot, but in the games, I don’t know why [I don’t score].”
“Playing against Man City is very difficult, but we come [into the game] with an important win and we have more confidence from this game [against Spurs]. We will try to do our best to win this game, we know it’s difficult but I think we are ready to show the people that that this team is ready to do good things.”
-Marc Cucurella; source: Sky
Here’s to doing good things!