Chelsea’s challenge for Champions League qualification via two possible routes continues apace following Thursday night’s win in central Europe and Willian, a key component in the side which takes a 1-0 advantage back to London in our Europa League quarter-final, admits we had to overcome challenges to do so.
The Brazilian is enjoying an influential campaign in this competition. His ball for Marcos Alonso’s late winner against Slavia Prague means he now has seven assists to his name. No one has more in the Europa League this season. Added to those are the three goals he has scored.
‘Fortunately I made a good delivery to Marcos and he scored a goal for us,’ said Willian as he reflected on how the first leg panned out. He had earlier hit the bar with fierce strike.
‘Now we have to think about the next game and this win was a big boost for the next game, so let’s be ready for that.
‘It was a very difficult game. They [Slavia Prague] have a good team, they play good football. It was difficult to press them high because when we did they kicked a long ball and they attacked with full-backs at the same time. We tried to press them as high as we can but it was difficult. I think we did a great job and we won the game. The most important is to win and we did.’
Willian's Europa League stats below
With Maurizio Sarri making seven alterations to the side from the previous Premier League game, Willian along with Pedro and Olivier Giroud were part of a completely changed forward line. Eden Hazard was introduced into the action with close to an hour played.
‘Eden is in a great moment,’ acknowledged Willian. ‘He is a very special player, a very important player for us, and the moment he came on was good for us because we created more chances and we won the game. In the second half we scored the goal and it was a great result.’
- The home leg of the tie against Slavia Prague is sold out in non-hospitality areas but a few general admission tickets remain for our next Premier League match at Stamford Bridge