MARIN: BIG CHANCE
After a start hampered by injuries, Marko Marin has slowly but surely been playing his way into the manager's plans over recent weeks.
Hamstring problems in pre-season kept the German international from action until a debut came in late September, a 6-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Capital One Cup. It is in the same competition that the diminutive winger hopes he can make his first telling impact in the blue shirt, by helping us to our first silverware of the campaign at Wembley.
We enter tomorrow night's semi-final first leg against Swansea with Rafael Benitez preparing a strong line-up. A continued lack of match minutes makes a start unlikely for Marin, he only made his full Barclays Premier League debut last Wednesday, but he is eager to play his part in the hunt for success, and in helping us reach Wembley.
'Of course,' he nods. 'After my start with the injuries I came back and was again injured but now I feel better, nearly 100 per cent fit, and we can see it with the playing time, I've started to play and now I'm involved I hope it will continue.
'The important thing is minutes. I can only get fit with minutes in the games. Training does so much but matches are the best thing.
'The Capital One Cup is an important title. Every player in England has an aim to play in Wembley, because it means you have done well, and this is a big chance for us. We are in the semi-final and we want to win.
'Winning a title in February is early, and we still have the FA Cup too, so it can help us in the league, where it will be tough, but maybe we will have a chance.'
The competition takes on extra significance for a player still seeking major club honours.
'I only won the Euro Under-21 tournament for the national team, and was in the German Cup final but lost against Bayern,' he says.
'There is no major League Cup in Germany, but they know about the Capital One Cup there. It is not as big as the FA Cup but people know about it and its importance here.
'For me to win a title with my first year at Chelsea would be a big thing for me, and it would help us in the rest of the season.'
Hospitality tickets are still available for Wednesday night's semi-final first leg.