Marcos Alonso believes our showdown with Manchester United comes at a good time for us as the Blues’ run of big games continues at Stamford Bridge today.
In an exclusive interview looking ahead to the Premier League’s standout fixture this weekend, Alonso discusses our impressive recent form, the challenges of playing so often, and what he expects from a Man United team that like us have blown hot and cold at times this season.
Alonso has been one of the beneficiaries of Thomas Tuchel’s appointment and his early preference of a formation deploying wing-backs. He has started six of our eight games since the German arrived, with the Blues remaining unbeaten in that time and heading into this afternoon’s game on the back of a superb victory against Atletico Madrid.
With the second leg of that tie and league matches against Liverpool, Everton and Leeds also on the horizon, Alonso is excited for what could prove a season-defining period.
‘It’s the best time of the year, when you’re playing these kind of games, when you’re playing Champions League knockout,’ he tells us.
‘We want to play these kind of games. This year it has come in a good moment for us. We need to take advantage of that, and of course remember the tough times to keep working as hard as we have been, knowing we have to be together to keep getting the results.
‘We have to go for it. We are fighting to be as high as possible in the table, and there is still plenty to do to achieve our targets.
‘The hardest thing these days is to recover physically and be ready for the next one,’ Alonso adds of what makes a stretch of crunch match-ups tricky.
‘It’s a bit hectic with the calendar, all the games every three days. When you have now four or five important games in less than a month it’s tough to recover and be ready for every game, but that’s something we work on in the training ground and we have been ready so far.
‘We will be ready for the next games and focused.’
Man United are currently in second place but a Chelsea win would move us to within three points of them with almost a third of the league campaign still remaining. Alonso recognises the opportunity that awaits us.
‘We’re expecting a very difficult game for sure. They have big quality in their squad. It was a tough game when we played there, 0-0, and it will be tough as well today.
‘Hopefully this time the three points can stay here. We need the points, it’s a massive game, a classic game for the Premier League and the fans, and hopefully we play a good game.’