Chelsea will be searching for three points this evening and Antonio Rudiger insists the Blues know exactly what sort of game awaits us at Selhurst Park.
Frank Lampard’s side travel to south London looking to build on Saturday’s 3-0 home victory over Watford. Before that, however, we were defeated by West Ham in our previous away fixture, and our German defender believes the challenge laying in wait from the Eagles could be similar and insists the Blues must be prepared as we continue our quest for a top-four finish.
‘It will be difficult against Palace and I think this game will be a similar situation to what we faced against West Ham,’ explained Rudiger. ‘They are fighting for points and we know what kind of game to expect and we have to be ready for the task ahead.
‘We are focused on what we want to achieve, and that’s getting into the Champions League. It’s a competition that everyone wants to be in and we are no different to that. Qualifying for the Champions League is our main target and I’m sure it will be an exciting finish to the season, right until the final game.’
Rudiger has spoken of the competition for places at Chelsea and feels it can only benefit our exciting squad, a squad he has tipped for a bright future under our all-time leading scorer.
‘We have a good mix at the club and it’s not always easy to find that,’ added Rudiger. ‘We have some experienced guys and of course a lot of young players, who in my opinion have done really well this season.
‘Obviously we cannot predict the future, but with this mix of good, talented young guys and some more experienced players then I don’t see why we can’t challenge for trophies. In the future, we have a chance. With every year they take a step closer and as the coach has said before, when you are at Chelsea then these are the levels you want to get to and we should be reaching.
‘Having competition is a good problem to have,’ added the defender. ‘It makes you train better and it makes you play better, because you know there are other people waiting to take your place. You have to be on the top of your game always. As a coach, it’s obviously difficult to keep everyone happy and of course we have so many options, so you have to give your all every day.’
One player who has been in scintillating form since the season restarted is Christian Pulisic. The American scored a wonderful goal against Manchester City, as well as earning the free-kick and penalty for both of Willian’s goal in our last away fixture against the Hammers. He won a penalty against Watford too.
As an experienced member of the squad, Rudiger says he isn’t surprised to see Pulisic hitting such heights and hopes to see him continue in this way, labelling him as an ‘important player for this club’.
‘I think Christian handles the pressure very well and you can see that when he is fit, he’s such an important player for us,’ said Rudiger. ‘If you look at his recent performances, since the restart, he’s been fantastic and is a real threat whenever he attacks the opposition.
‘He’s scored goals but he’s also creating goals and he’s a big player for us in this moment. I just hope that he can stay fit, stay healthy and with more games I’m sure he will continue to improve even more. I think if he continues in this way, and stays healthy like I said, then he can become a very important player for this club.’