David Luiz believes the positive mood and improving levels of performance and fitness throughout the Chelsea squad indicate the encouraging start made to pre-season under Frank Lampard.
The Blues returned from a nine-day trip to Ireland at the weekend and will fly to Japan on Monday afternoon for the next leg of their summer programme. Our Brazilian defender was in the second group to arrive in the Irish capital as part of a staggered return for the squad, although double sessions throughout the week meant the players were quickly aware of the expectations from the new coaching staff.
‘We’ve had a great time in Dublin,’ he said after our win over St Patrick’s. ‘We are starting to understand what Lamps wants from us and we want to continue in the same way, to work a lot and know what we have to do on the pitch.
'There’s been a great spirit and energy. It’s always important to be positive in life, especially in our job, and it’s been great for us to start in this way. It’s not always easy to start again after a long period on holiday but we are doing very well and trying to get in shape as soon as possible.’
The 32-year old believes Lampard’s leadership skills in the dressing room as a player will be easily transferable to the dugout and he is looking forward to working with a group of staff with such strong connections to the club.
‘He’s leading the team like he did as a player but just in a different way now,’ continued the defender. ‘He cannot run anymore or score goals for us but he’s still a leader so it will be easy to understand him. It’s great to have him back and not just him but all his staff as well because they have known this club for a long time, they love this club and they were waiting for this opportunity.’
David Luiz played alongside Fikayo Tomori for the first half of our 4-0 victory in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, the latter 11 years younger than the Brazilian. It is the presence of Chelsea Academy graduates like Tomori, goalscorer Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Tammy Abraham that provide a youthful feel to the current squad, though David Luiz has urged the youngsters to make the most of their opportunities.
‘We are a lucky team because we have so much talent,’ he continued. ‘The young players are amazing, they have the quality already to play for this club so I have to do my role as a senior player trying to help them and also doing my job.
‘When you’re young, you have to think about you opening the door yourself and not the door being opened for you. The young players have to work with this mentality because life is not easy. Every day another boy is born who wants to be a footballer so it’s up to everyone to work hard and open the door themselves. They have the talent and potential for that so they just have to show it every single day.’
The need to strive for excellence is particularly important as David Luiz insists that standards and expectations will not be lowered at Stamford Bridge this season.
‘Everybody understands this moment and we have to be patient but in the end everybody wants to win,’ he added. ‘If you don’t think about winning trophies then you cannot play for Chelsea. The ambition has to be high.
‘There are many fantastic clubs in England working with managers for three or four years with amazing squads but it’s up to us to understand as quickly as possible this new philosophy and try to win the games.’
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