Ross Barkley can’t wait for the Carabao Cup final to kick off, saying the chance to compete for silverware in big matches like this are the reason he joined Chelsea.
We take on Manchester City at Wembley with the chance to bring home another addition to the Stamford Bridge trophy cabinet, and Barkley insists the big occasions and the opportunity to continue the club’s legacy of success were what persuaded him to leave his boyhood club Everton for the Blues last year.
‘The reason why I came to the club is to win trophies and help the club continue with the success and we’ve got a big game, but we’re all looking forward to it,’ explained the midfielder, who is hoping to make up for lost time after being restricted to a cameo role in last season’s triumphant FA Cup campaign, as he recovered from injury.
‘I was part of it so I got the feeling of a winning atmosphere and a winning squad, seeing before the game the way the lads prepared for the game in training and then the feeling after the game, how good that is, so it gave me the hunger to want to achieve success at this club. But last season I didn’t really play much part in winning the trophy so I see this as my chance to win my first trophy at the club.’
He is also certain there won’t be a repeat of the defeat we suffered at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League earlier this month.
‘It was disappointing the other week against City but no two games are the same and we’re looking forward to it and I’m sure there’ll be a different result.
‘It starts on the training pitch, it starts in the mind. We’ve all been fully focused in training and we’ll go with a plan and hopefully it pays off.’
There has been much focus on the team’s progress in adapting to a new way of playing under Maurizio Sarri in recent weeks, and comparisons to Pep Guardiola’s first campaign in charge at today’s opponents, with Barkley discussing the team’s continuing work and his first-hand experience of the initial difficulties City experienced.
‘With each individual, everyone takes instructions in a different way, but we’re all top-class players and we all want to learn more, so with the manager we’re learning on a day-to-day basis.
'If you compare Pep Guardiola’s first season, they went though a bit of an up and down spell. I remember when I was at Everton we beat Manchester City at Goodison 4-0. The Premier League’s got the most competition in the world. There’re teams all over the table that can hurt you if you have an off day. It’s just more repetition and training and the results will come through with more games.'
- Ross Barkley's great free-kick on Thursday can be watched below
However, Barkley is certain that the team will emerge from any difficulties stronger and we have a clear vision of what we can achieve with Sarri when they do.
‘He tries to improve every player. Throughout his career, you can see at Napoli how well he did with the players that he had and how well he improved them, and you can see on the training pitch a lot of things are improving from each individual.
‘We went through a bit of an up and down spell in the last couple of weeks but we’re confident that we’ll come through it and we’ll achieve success.
‘We’ve got ambitions to be one of the best footballing sides in the world, we’re one of the biggest clubs in the world. The style of play that the manager wants to play, it’s not where it’s at right now, but over time it’ll come.’