Rudiger: I’m a Blue now
news Mon 30 Oct 2017
Antonio Rudiger says he and his Chelsea team-mates will head to Rome today full of confidence after three wins in the space of a week.
The Blues made it back-to-back Premier League victories on Saturday, following up the dramatic come-from-behind win over Watford with a 1-0 success at Bournemouth that was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
Sandwiched in between those results was Carabao Cup progress at the expense of Everton, and attention now turns to Roma, who we meet for the second time in Group C following a 3-3 draw at the Bridge last time out which leaves us top of the standings on seven points.
'The last week was very important,' said Rudiger, the only player to start all three matches. 'We go to Rome with confidence. We are back to winning ways and we want to continue.
'We need to be ready in their stadium because it will be very, very hard. I know this team. They want to play football and they always have this desire, no matter what the situation is. This is what they did – they came to Stamford Bridge and had more ball possession than we. We all saw it.
'[Edin] Dzeko is a very dangerous striker, like in the Premier League, everyone knows him. Also [Aleksandar] Kolarov at the back, who comes with a lot of power.'
For Rudiger, the trip to the Stadio Olmpico represents a return to the ground he called home for two years, having joined the Giallorossi in 2015 from VfB Stuttgart.
It is the fourth time we will visit the stadium in the Champions League following two matches with Lazio and one against Roma, the last of which was nine years ago – but Rudiger knew a swift return to his old stadium would be forthcoming.
'I spoke to my parents [before the draw] and I already knew,' he said. 'They told me, “For sure you will get Roma – it always happens like this, the ex plays against the ex.”
'I'm happy to go to Rome and to play against my old team. First of all, I have big respect for this club because I had two wonderful years there.
'There were up and downs with injuries, but everyone was always standing behind me. I appreciate that. But I'm now in Chelsea, I'm very happy with that, and I will give 100 per cent in the game.'
The Blues travel to Rome having won six of our past seven away games in the Premier League, as well as beating Atletico Madrid in our solitary Champions League trip to date.
We also go into the game on the back of our first clean sheet since the 4-0 win at Stoke City before the last international break, with Rudiger and co. restricting Bournemouth to only one shot on target – and that in stoppage time – which is their joint-lowest tally since earning promotion to the Premier League in 2015.
'I'm very happy about the result and the effort of the team,' he said of the 1-0 victory earned by Eden Hazard's second-half goal. 'This is what counts for me personally. We all did a great job.
'I'm very pleased with the games I've played and I always try to give my best for the team. At the moment I'm in good shape and this where I want to stay – and to get better.
'I also have to say big respect for the smaller teams [in England]. They always give their all and this is very good. It makes the league very competitive and this is what I like.
'In my mindset, when I knew I would come to Chelsea I was already clear in my head: “Hey, you need to be in every game 100 per cent focused and try to develop every time.” With my 24 years I am still young and I have to improve. There's a lot of space to improve.'