A smashing summer
SEB COE Sat 10 Sep 2016
I am delighted with the start the Blues made to the 2016/17 season, taking maximum points from our first three Premier League games, as well as reaching the next stage of the League Cup.
I have been impressed with many things so far this season, primarily our focus, our work-rate and the way the players all seem totally committed to the cause.
We all know last season was a disappointing one, but that group of players did not become a bad one overnight.
I've liked what I've seen from Antonio Conte, not only from our opening few results of the campaign, but from the vibe I was getting during pre-season. I think what the manager has understood is that the squad needed strengthening – as all squads need strengthening – it's almost a permanent process if you're to keep ahead of the competition.
But the players who were already here have really hit top form again.
As we have seen before and are seeing now, Eden Hazard is one of the very best players in the Premier League with the ability to transform a game in an instant.
I've enjoyed seeing Nemanja Matic at his authoritative best in the middle of the field and I'm delighted to see JT is there. His influence for good goes way, way beyond what he does on the pitch. You want role models around the place and he is a great example to all the younger players at the club. I also think Branislav Ivanovic is playing with more confidence again and confidence is contagious.
At the other end of the pitch, Diego Costa – his winning goal against West Ham was top drawer. It's always nice to win a London derby in that manner.
Having netted two last-ditch winners in our opening three league fixtures of the campaign, I started to think about some of our other late goals over the years and I think the majority of my favourites have come in cup matches.
Didier Drogba's equaliser in the 2012 Champions League final was pretty heroic. It may not have been in the last minute but it certainly felt that way to most of us in Blue shirts that day, and, going back further, Ossie got us back on level terms in the 1970 FA Cup final replay against Leeds relatively late in the game.
Before I finish, a word on the Olympics. As Chairman of the British Olympic Association, it almost goes without saying I was incredibly proud of each and every member of Team GB at the Rio Olympics.
I also think our backroom staff did an unbelievable job and I can confidently say that no team went to Rio better prepared than us.
We felt that a good ambition was to be the most successful Great Britain team at an overseas games. Then, with a few days to go, we started to look at ourselves and were trying hard not to get too excited, It suddenly dawned on the team that becoming our most successful team ever was within our grasp. To end up second in the medals table, behind only the USA and ahead of China was just incredible.