Willian thinks “every game is a final now” for Chelsea as they bid to bring Champions League football back to Stamford Bridge next season.
Like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the Brazilian winger has earmarked qualification for Europe’s elite club competition as their main goal this season. Having missed out on the tournament last campaign owing to a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League, the west Londoners have ten remaining league matches to secure a top-four finish in the current campaign. While they remain sixth in the league table, they are only two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, with fifth-placed Arsenal just a point within reach, while the Blues also maintain a game in hand against their top-four rivals.
Their next assignment in the league is against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday yet apart from a top-four finish, Maurizio Sarri’s side could yet secure Champions League football next season by winning the Europa League. Chelsea appear headed in the right direction in Europe’s second-tier club competition as they currently hold a healthy 3-0 advantage over Dynamo Kiev heading into the second leg of their last-16 tie at Ukraine.
Willian, who scored a magisterial freekick against the Ukrainian side on Thursday, believes crunch time has now come at Stamford Bridge and the potentially season-defining stretch must drive the west Londoners to go for broke in every fixture they come into.
“Now is the moment we have to win every game,” said the Brazilian in an interview posted on the club’s official website. “Every game is a final for us now and we have to go well in every game. We know our targets, we know what we want – we want to reach the top four, to stay there, and play Champions League next season.”
The Blues may return to the top-four as early as the weekend as a win over Wolves may take them above Manchester United, who play fellow Champions League hopefuls Arsenal.