One of the sub-plots of our recent run of good results has been the good form of Marc Cucurella, and our summer-signed defender has confirmed he is now feeling comfortable playing in a Chelsea shirt and is pleased with his past two performances.
The Spaniard returned to the starting line-up for the home game against Borussia Dortmund and was named player of the match in that crucial win. He retained his place for last weekend’s 3-1 victory at Leicester and will be hopeful of more involvement today at home to Everton.
Cucurella looks back on his time at Chelsea so far, acknowledging challenges at the start following his experience at Brighton. These included a break-in at his house after his transfer, as confirmed by Graham Potter a month ago.
‘Of course always it is different because when you came here you feel the pressure when the results didn't arrive,’ Cucurella says, ‘and the first months here for me is maybe not the best situation because I had problems in my personal life.
‘We are people, we are not machines, and we have problems the same as all the people in the world. Sometimes it's difficult because the people watch you on the pitch and they think you are a top player and you do not have problems and only play good football, but this is not the life. The life that is normal for everyone is for us as well. With this and then the pressure, maybe since I arrived here I don't play my best games, to my real level, but I think these last two weeks I played really good and I am happy with this.’
Cucurella explains that at his previous clubs he was used to being a near-automatic choice and feeling one of the most important players in the side.
‘Then these last weeks, maybe I lose this and it is difficult,’ he adds. ‘But I'm happy because I never stopped working, I work every day, I work hard in silence because I think my opportunity will arrive again. When Graham gave the line-up and I stay inside it I feel good because I feel I'm ready to play good to help the team to win.’
Turning to the team more generally, the 24-year-old talks about the inner belief within the squad that a run of poor results could be overcome, despite the high-pressure spotlight on the club.
‘You stay with a phone or you put on the news and all the time people speak about the Chelsea situation, that Chelsea didn't win the games and everything, but we are focused on our work, we have a really good team, good players, a lot of young players too with a lot of energy to improve, to learn a lot of things.
‘I think maybe the season is a little bit difficult but we are working to progress and to improve for the next season. Maybe this season is more build up.
‘The team have three important wins for the confidence. The team play really good and this is very important because now we have the last part of the season and this is the most important part, we have the Champions League, and we try to finish the league in a Champions League position.’