Chelsea are just hours away from their UEFA Champions League clash against Ligue 1 side Rennes in France. A win for the Blues could confirm their qualification to the next phase of the UCL, based on the outcome of Sevilla's clash against Krasnodar. Chelsea have been in sublime form over the last couple of months, and are yet to lose a game in regulation time since their 2-0 loss to champions Liverpool.
The game against Rennes comes as part of a packed schedule of fixtures which sees them face off with surprise league leaders Tottenham Hotspur, after which they travel to Seville to face the record UEFA Europa League winners. Here, we take a look at the latest Chelsea news.
Rennes manager praises 'exceptional' Thiago Silva
New Chelsea star Thiago Silva has gotten off to a superb start to life at Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian's calming presence and influence at the back has been a much-needed addition for the Blues, and the results they've had with him on the pitch speak for themselves.
Rennes manager Julien Stephan revealed his admiration for the 36-year-old ahead of their showdown at Roazhon Park. Speaking on Silva, Stephan said;
"Thiago Silva is monstrous, I find him exceptional in all areas of the game. First of all, by his attitude. He is a great professional who exudes both a lot of authority and humility. I find him very strong in the defensive field, in anticipation, in the duel on the ground or in the air."
The Rennes manager added,
"I also find him extraordinary on the technical level with the quality of recovery he can have. He has already been a very big influence so far for Chelsea and been at a very, very high level for a long time."
Stephan also revealed that he believes Ligue 1 lost an exceptional player when Silva announced his free transfer to Chelsea, and that he would have liked to have him at Rennes. The 40-year-old Frenchman expressed;
"He’s a complete and exceptional player. It’s unfortunate not to have him in the French league anymore but I think the Premier League now has a very, very high-level defender. I would have liked to have him with us but he is not calibrated for clubs like ours but for clubs of a higher level. This year he is also in a great team with great ambitions and making a fantastic step in the league after very large recruitment."
The former Paris Saint-Germain superstar has also been fondly referred to as 'O Monstro' in the past.
Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger provides update on future
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has spoken out on his future amidst rumours of a potential move away from Stamford Bridge. The German international has fallen down the pecking order at Chelsea upon the arrival of former Paris Saint-Germain skipper Thiago Silva. The Brazilian's seamless integration into the side, coupled with Kurt Zouma's stunning vein of form, has effectively kept Rudiger out of the side.
Rudiger was said to be keen on a move away in the summer, but has now revealed that he feels like he is an important part of the side. Speaking on his situation, the 27-year-old said;
"I’m satisfied with how the situation has developed in the past weeks. Now I see myself as a permanent part of the team. I had a tough time, so I also checked other transfer options but I received positive signals from the coaching team."
Rudiger is also an important part of the German national side but will need valuable minutes ahead of the upcoming UEFA Euros, which could be a decisive factor should he look for a transfer away from the club.
Frank Lampard showers Edouard Mendy with praise
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard revealed that he is delighted with his new keeper, Edouard Mendy's impact on the side. The Senegalese star, formerly of Rennes, has had a dream start to life as a Chelsea player and managed to keep an astonishing seven clean sheets in his nine appearances for Chelsea so far.
He has proved to be a monumental upgrade on their now-second choice stopper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was purchased by the club for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper. Speaking on Mendy's impact at Chelsea, Lampard expressed;
"I’ve been really pleased. It’s not easy and he’s made it look easy, which is the difficult thing. When you come from another league there are of course differences in the Premier League – the physical nature, the speed of the league – and I think it is unique in those terms."
"For a goalkeeper that has got such a spotlight on him and is having to face these differences and make relationships with the team around him, he has done it very seamlessly."
The Englishman also explained that the 28-year-old's form has instilled a sense of confidence in the side. Chelsea have seen a sudden upturn in their defensive form and much of it has to do with the additions of Mendy and Silva, and Lampard praised the former in particular for helping build this confidence. He added,
"It helps. Confidence is something that you have to build through a squad, bit by bit, from front to back. But with a goalkeeper, when you are talking about defensively and the amount of pressure that you come under in the Premier League, there aren’t many games when you will have no problems and no issues. You need to build confidence."
"We have had some clean sheets lately and individuals should take a lot of credit for that, but also collectively that confidence needs to build and it needs to continue."
Mendy is set to face his former club, Rennes, in the Champions League.
Published 24 Nov 2020, 22:32 IST