Marcos Alonso has been speaking about his own role in the side and a positive atmosphere within the squad, as well as the type of game he expects when Chelsea face Arsenal later today.
For Marcos Alonso the objective is clear, we simply need to continue to win football matches in order to ensure the second half of the season is an enjoyable period for both players and supporters.
The Blues face a big London derby later today when we travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal, aiming to secure the victory which would take us nine points clear of the fifth-placed Gunners, establishing a healthy cushion at this stage of the campaign.
It was Alonso who scored the winner when the two teams met earlier in the season, the Spaniard sweeping home from an Eden Hazard cross late in the game to seal a 3-2 victory, and he explained what type of test he expects from Unai Emery’s side, who were beaten 1-0 at West Ham United a week ago.
‘They have had more work under the new manager [since our last meeting],’ said Alonso. ‘They’ve had some very good games, playing good football and creating a lot of chances, so we will have to defend very well and hopefully it will be a good game and we will get the three points.
‘The other teams are winning as well so we need to find a little bit more consistency to have a good run in the league and get closer to the top.’
Since moving to Stamford Bridge from Fiorentina in 2016, Alonso has developed a reputation for his goalscoring ability, netting 15 times in total, including some memorable strikes in big matches.
The defender has scored three goals against today’s opponents, more than against any other club, but having played as a wing-back in the previous two seasons, Maurizio Sarri’s preference for operating with a back four means Alonso’s role has changed, as he explained.
‘It’s not easy to work on scoring,’ he said. ‘You can practise finishing but you have to be in the right place and that’s something you cannot train.
‘This year, with the way we’re playing, it’s not easy for me to get close to the goal to score. I’ve had some chances, I’ve only scored one, and then there was the own-goal against Newcastle, when their guy touched the ball on the goal-line, but I’ve hit the post around five times so I think I’ve been unlucky and I’m sure more goals will come.
‘It’s maybe different from my last experience in Fiorentina, and here in the previous two years, but I think I’ve played like this a lot of times in my career. In Spain I played with four at the back, trying to keep the ball so it’s not something different.’
Maurizio Sarri’s side, in fourth, are just one point behind Tottenham, who we face in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Thursday, and six behind second-placed Manchester City in the Premier League table.
The spirit within the squad is strong, says Alonso, who believes we must focus on simply winning football matches in order to achieve our objectives.
‘The atmosphere in the changing room has always been great,’ said the left-back. ‘There have been good and bad moments but the best way to enjoy your football is to win and that’s what we have to fight for.
‘We need to work hard and try to keep winning games, then for sure we will enjoy the rest of the season.
‘It’s hard because the two top teams are doing very well and we are a bit further behind, but we just have to go game by game, try to get the points and then we will see at the end of the season.’