After starting four consecutive games for Chelsea for the first time, Emerson Palmieri discusses the opening weeks of our season and expresses his belief that results will soon turn in our favour as long as standards, work-rate and motivation remain high.
It has been an optimistic opening to the new season at Stamford Bridge, even if results have yet to go the way of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, and Emerson’s displays at left-back in particular have been among the most positive aspects of these first couple of weeks.
The Italian recorded our standout statistics from last weekend’s draw with Leicester City, topping the numbers for passes, dribbles and tackles, while he was inches away from notching his first Premier League goal at Old Trafford on the opening weekend when his powerful effort came crashing back off the crossbar.
The signs have certainly been encouraging and Emerson believes a continuation of the group’s work, application and attitude in the coming weeks will ensure that points soon combine with positive performances.
‘It’s a new season with a new manager and new ideas,’ the 25-year-old explains. ‘We have a young team in comparison to last season but in the last three matches we’ve played, even though we haven’t got the results we were looking for, I think we’ve shown a good level of football.'
Lampard is the third Chelsea head coach that Emerson has worked under, having been signed from Roma by Antonio Conte in January 2018 before playing a full campaign under Maurizio Sarri last term. He is enjoying the fresh approach provided by the Englishman, particularly the emphasis placed on quick and purposeful attacking football.
‘With Frank, we’re trying to play very direct football, always trying to attack and be as close to the goal as possible,’ Emerson explains. ‘We’re looking to get our centre-forwards into the game so that means lots of crosses into the area and balls into them.
‘We’re creating chances and I’m sure the goals will follow. Against Leicester, in the first 15 minutes we had several shots on goal and against Manchester United we had both Tammy Abraham and myself hit the frame of the goal. Frank is always looking for us to play in that way.
‘The message is all about intensity and direct, offensive football so we’re working on improving that because we know we have quality in our team. We have so much potential to improve going forward with a manager who’s always working with us on the offensive aspect. I’m really enjoying the fact we’re playing this way in such an offensive style and I’m sure the results will come.’
Emerson’s own ambitions have not changed since his arrival in London 18 months ago and his two-trophy haul since then have completely justified the move from Serie A for the Brazilian-born full-back.
‘I arrived a year-and-a-half ago and I’m just so happy at Chelsea,’ he reports. ‘Things have progressed naturally and I’m still young, only 25, so I have a lot of potential and a lot more to give. I’m feeling very happy and relaxed here, which will be important for my progression.
‘My ambition is always to do my best and help the team in any way I can. I’ve already won the FA Cup and the Europa League, which are collective goals but also personal objectives that I set for myself. It gets harder every year but I just want to do my best and hopefully help Chelsea win another trophy. The objective I set myself is every season to bring home silverware for this club.’
Lifting silverware starts with winning matches and Emerson acknowledges that after three games without victory, there is a growing pressure to get that first win on the board. He hopes it will come at Carrow Road this weekend when we travel to take on Norwich City in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, although he insists the most important thing is to keep calm and stick together as we work towards improving every week.
‘We’ve gone three matches at the start of the season without winning and it’s difficult because we always play to win,’ he adds. ‘There were tough matches against Man United and Leicester but we really need to make sure we turn our chances into goals to get three points.
‘It’s normal when you’re at Chelsea that there’s pressure on every match because it’s a big club and that’s just part of the game. The manager is definitely keeping calm though and just making sure we’re in the best position to do our best.’