Fresh from signing his new deal at Chelsea, Olivier Giroud spoke to us about his decision to stay, leaving his comfort zone, and next week’s Europa League final.
The striker’s contract has been extended for the 2019/20 season following 18 successful months at Stamford Bridge. Last year he helped us win the FA Cup and he has since played a major role in our journey to the Europa League final later this month.
We sat down with Giroud and looked forward to Baku as well as discussing the competition for places at Chelsea. First on the agenda however was the World Cup winner’s reasoning for remaining in west London…
Congratulations on the new deal Olivier. Why did you decide to stay?
I feel very good at Chelsea, in the club. My family has settled well, myself also. We have a very good squad, a good understanding all together on and off the pitch. I really wanted to carry on and I think the club has given me its trust. It means they are happy with what I have achieved until now. I really want to do more and reward them for the trust they have given to me.
How quickly did you adapt to Chelsea?
It was easy for me. Of course it was not a big move but it was still a move, especially when you have kids and everything. We were happy to stay in London and for me to stay professionally playing in the Premier League. It was a step forward for me, to join the most successful club in England in the last 10 years, and that is why I was very excited. Now I want to win some more trophies, and why not next week!
Yes indeed, we have a Europa League final against Arsenal around the corner…
It’s a European final, the first time for me with a club. We will prepare well to be ready. It’s a derby game against my old team and it’s going to be special for me, but I have to forget what team I will face on the 29th. It’s always different when you play your old team-mates but I like it. I will focus 100 per cent on the game. I really want to win this trophy for the fans, for the club and obviously for myself. We deserve something this year with this squad. I can’t wait.
You’re the first Chelsea player to score 10 goals in a European season, and you’re the tournament’s joint top scorer with a chance to add to your tally in Baku…
When you don’t have the opportunity to play so much in the Premier League you have to stay focused and committed for the team for when the manager puts you in the starting XI. I always tried this year to bring something to the team, always a plus, and that’s what happened in the Europa League. I am very happy and proud of it, and it would be amazing for the team to win it and for me to finish top scorer. It would mean a lot.
Do you relish the competition for places in attack at Chelsea?
Yeah definitely. For me it has always been a positive thing. Fair competition between strikers is very important for the team because you always need to step up and improve yourself. It’s very good to get out of your comfort zone and give your maximum. I like it and I need it all the time.
You just need fair competition. As long as when you are doing well and you score you play the next game, every striker is happy with that. If you don’t score and the other one scores he has to play. It’s like that. It has always helped me to step up and improve. Hopefully next year will be the same.
How do you think football has changed in this country in the seven years you have been here?
I think English teams now have the quality but also the quantity in their squad which means they can rotate more and be more competitive in all competitions. This year the Premier League teams have played well in European cups. We have four teams in the two finals. That’s never happened and it means even if we have tough, tiring calendars we can still compete in Europe. Hopefully it’s going to be the case in the future.