David Luiz has reiterated that winning the Europa League should be seen as an achievement in its own right and not just about the rewards of Champions League qualification.
The Blues are already guaranteed their place next season courtesy of a third-place finish in the Premier League, while our Europa League final opponents Arsenal are still to determine which European competition they will feature in. Although winners of the final will be seeded in the first pot in the Champions League group stage draw, David Luiz believes lifting the trophy should provide plenty enough motivation.
‘This competition is not about the Champions League, it’s about winning a big trophy,’ the Brazilian told the assembled media at the pre-match press conference. ‘Everyone wants to win it at the start and both teams have done well to get here so I think it will be a real battle and a top final. Clubs like Chelsea always want to win a trophy so we’ll be doing our best to repeat 2013 and be the winners.’
The Brazilian explained how the team will remain on English time throughout their stay in Azerbaijan so it will be a normal 8pm kick-off, even if the time difference is three hours ahead in Baku.
‘It won’t be a late night for us because it’s still 8pm in London. If you get some jet lag then you need five days to recover but if you keep on English time then it stays the same. The time won’t be an excuse for us – it will be more difficult for the people coming to the stadium but not us.’
The defender also provided an insight into how the Blues turned their season around after some difficult moments in the early months of the calendar year.
‘It’s about working hard every day, knowing someone and how they work. Maurizio has a lot of passion for football and I think everyone believes in his idea. At the start of the season when we started very well, everyone was saying Chelsea are ready to fight for the title. There have been some ups and downs but this is our second final and a good opportunity to finish the season well.
‘The first thing is always to understand where you are, see how you can grow and improve. You understand the group is good enough to fight for some titles and you have to sacrifice yourself to give more and do everything for this club. Many of the players understood that and we changed our situation. Only intelligent people can adapt and understand the moment.’