Willian says ‘every game is a final’ for Chelsea in their quest to return to the Champions League. Maurizio Sarri’s side have nine Premier League fixtures remaining in which to secure a top-four finish, starting with Sunday’s home game against Wolves.
The Blues could also qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League. They appear on course for the quarter-finals of that competition after a superb second-half free-kick from Willian helped inspire Thursday’s dominant 3-0 win in the first leg of their last-16 tie with Dynamo Kiev. ‘Now is the moment we have to win every game. Every game is a final for us now and we have to do 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 Brazilian told Chelsea TV.
With Manchester City and Liverpool involved in a two-horse title race, sixth-placed Chelsea are competing for one of the other two Champions League spots along with Manchester United and London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal. Despite the Blues’ current position, a top-four finish remains within their control as they are only two points behind fourth-placed United with a game in hand. Sarri’s team are also set to face Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at Old Trafford on April 28.
Chelsea failed to qualify for the Champions League last season under Antonio Conte following a fifth-placed finish which led to the Italian’s sacking. Defender David Luiz believes the Blues are fortunate to have two chances to return to the competition. The 31-year-old defender, who was stand-in captain against Kiev, hopes the team can continue their recent resurgence which resulted in three wins in nine days and seemingly brought head coach Sarri back from the brink of dismissal. ‘We are lucky and I am happy because we have two opportunities and so let’s fight for both. We are trying to improve our game every single week, every single day, every single match and of course it is a positive moment for us,’ Luiz told Chelsea’s website.