Interview

Every game a must-win for Kepa Arrizabalaga

Our goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has a clear mininum requirement if Chelsea are to reach our objective of Champions League qualification.

We have four matches remaining in the Premier League, starting tonight when we host Burnley at Stamford Bridge, and the goalkeeper wants to pick up maximum points to ensure we are competing at the highest level of European club football in 2019/20.

‘Obviously it’s a game that’s really important for us,’ said the Spaniard. ‘We’re getting to the stage now where we have to win these games, it’s a must-win game. We had Slavia Prague on Thursday and Burnley is going to be a tough physical game too, and it’s a game we have to give everything to win.

‘We know how difficult it’s going to be. We’ve got four games left and we need to win all those games really if we want to be in the Champions League next season. We know it’s going to be a great battle, a really tough battle. We’ve got four games left and one of those is at Old Trafford, so it’s going to be tough.

‘It’s what we’ve been working for all season, our objective was to qualify for the Champions League. We know it’s not going to be easy. We also have another objective, which is the Europa League, so we have another opportunity.’

Kepa has also been passing his judgement on the season so far, both personally and for the team, as he approaches the conclusion of his first campaign in England after moving to west London from Athletic Bilbao back in August. While he is pleased with the progress made so far, he is eager to continue improving on both fronts.

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‘I think we’ve had a good season,’ he explained. ‘At the start we had a good feeling, and then perhaps we weren’t very consistent. There have been a number of highs and lows throughout the season, which has perhaps affected our fight to get in the Champions League, so it’s not been easy.

‘We’ve had some good games also during the season and I think the ideas and the concept the manager’s wanted to implement, we’ve taken them on well and we’re happy and united as players in achieving our objectives.

‘In general I’m very happy with my personal performance. It’s been a big change for me, it’s a new league, new team, new manager, so as a player that’s all new. But slowly I’ve been adapting to my new surroundings and I think you can see things are getting positive. If it continues then hopefully I’ll get better with each day.’

The Spanish international also sees big things ahead for this Chelsea side, believing the team can continue to build on this first season under Maurizio Sarri going forward.

‘He’s a manager who has clear ideas in how he wants to play, how he wants his team to pressure and how he wants his team to behave on the pitch, and he gets his ideas across to the players. At first it was difficult to adapt them to a new league, difficult for him but also difficult for the players, but I think we have a bright future and we’re very together in wanting to achieve our final objective.’

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