Alonso: Different style, different approach

While the Blues remain unbeaten this season, improvements in terms of our all-round performances can still be made according to Marcos Alonso, and the Spaniard says there is still more to come from the team ahead of today's London derby against Crystal Palace.

Maurizio Sarri’s side play our first game of November later today when we welcome the Eagles to Stamford Bridge, with the Blues yet to experience defeat under the stewardship of the Italian.

Last Sunday's 4-0 Premier League win over Burnley was followed by a far closer Carabao Cup tie in midweek when Cesc Fabregas’s goal proved decisive in a 3-2 victory against Derby County, and Alonso is pleased with the way the season has begun.

‘I enjoy it when we win,’ Alonso said. ‘We have started very well this year, we are all very happy with the new manager and the way we are working and it’s important to get the results.

‘I think we have a great team and the players that came in the summer are helping us a lot. Players who were not involved last year are now getting the confidence and they are giving us great performances. If we work hard and keep going in the same direction I think the results will keep coming.

‘We’ve been getting the results but in terms of the way the team play, we can still improve. We are working on small details which can still get better and that will make us a better team.’

The arrival of Sarri has led to a change in role for Alonso, who recently committed his long-term future to the club by signing a new five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

Having played as a left wing-back in a five-man defensive unit under Antonio Conte, Alonso is now operating as a left-back in Sarri’s favoured 4-3-3 formation, although it’s a position he has plenty of previous experience in, as he explained.

‘It was harder for me when I went to Italy and I started playing as a wing-back because that was new for me, but now it’s just going back to the position I played in before I moved to Italy,’ Alonso said.

‘That’s the position I’ve always played and I feel good there. Playing as a wing-back I used to be closer to the goal and I could help the team more in attack, now it’s different. I have to pick when I try to go up and focus on defending.

‘Maurizio and Antonio are both very good managers but it’s a completely different style. Now we try to have control of the game with possession, we try to find spaces to get closer to the goal and generate chances. I think we are all feeling very good playing this way and we have to make sure the results keep coming.’

In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Sarri indicated Eden Hazard, who has missed our last two matches with a back problem, will play some part against Crystal Palace this afternoon, and Alonso spoke about the Belgian’s quality.

‘He’s been in great form since before the World Cup,’ said the defender. ‘Last year wasn’t easy for him as he had an injury at the beginning of the season but he finished it great, played a great World Cup and you can see how he’s playing now. I think he’s one of the best and we are happy to have him with us.’

The Blues are currently well placed near the top of the table and despite the fact both Manchester City and Liverpool, the Premier League’s only other unbeaten sides, have also started strongly, Alonso believes we possess more than enough quality to challenge those teams, particularly given the way we performed against Jurgen Klopp’s team last month.

‘We already played against Liverpool and I think we were the better team,’ he said. ‘We were unlucky to concede the goal at the end so I think we can compete against any team in Europe. The target has to be to start every game 100 per cent and try to win.

‘There is still a long way to go. The title is not something we have to think about now but obviously that has to be the target for us. There are still a lot of games, and a lot of things for us to do, so I think we just have to focus and take it game by game.’

- Live audio commentary of today's game is available in the 5th stand app

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