Chelsea manager Guss Hiddink described it as a ‘normal rivalry’ that doesn’t need any “extra scrutiny” ahead of the Blues’ London derby clash with Tottenham on Monday night.
His players, may have a different view to that. If Manchester United manage to beat Leicester City on Sunday, it will make the derby all the more interesting. It will add an extra incentive to stop Spurs from winning the league.
The most important thing, however, is to win the game. It is an important game for the fans and the players. Chelsea forward Pedro has played many high octane derby matches during in time with Barcelona, and he is fully aware of what it is like to be a part in a derby match.
“Is it another incentive that beating Spurs will stop them winning the League? Yes. But the most important thing for us is to win this match,” said Pedro, as quoted by Evening Standard.
“The fact it could have an effect on the championship and be advantageous to Leicester is secondary. Leicester have played really well this season and deserve to be where they are.
“I realise this is a big big game for the Chelsea fans, the players. I know it is a really important derby in England and a match that is always played with a lot of passion and emotion.”
While, Chelsea have hardly anything to play for this season, but for this particular one, they do not require any extra motivation. The players are determined to maintain Chelsea’s impressive home record against Spurs; the Blues haven’t lost at Stamford Bridge against their derby rivals for 26 years. It’s a long time.
To put things into context, Pedro was only two years old when Gary Lineker’s headed sealed a victory for the away side back in 1990. The domination over Spurs is simply remarkable.
Tottenham will be without one of their key players, Dele Alli for this match, after the PFA Young footballer of the year was given a three-match retrospective ban for punching West Brom’s Claudio Yacob, but Mauricio Pochettino, who has verbally agreed to extend his contract with Spurs till 2021, will be counting on his leading goal scorer, Harry Kane, to deliver the goods for his side.
Pedro has only positive words left to say for the Spurs striker who has scored 27 goals in all competitions this season. The Spain international added:
“Harry Kane has shown his class over a couple of years now and scored a lot of goals in the League.
“He is an excellent player because he is tall, physically strong, but also technical. He is their main threat going forward but they have many players coming in from behind and playing on the wings.”
Pedro initially struggled to make a strong impact in England since joining from Barcelona, but he seems to have settled in nicely now. It has been a tough season for him and for Chelsea, but he wants to finish the season on a high.
Pedro enjoyed a trophy laden career at Barcelona, where won the La Liga, Spanish Cup and Champions League with the Blaugrana, but finds himself in a “strange” situation this season. Chelsea were knocked out of all four competitions by March, and to make the matter worse, they won’t be playing in the Champions League next season as well.
“It’s been very strange for me that I am not fighting for trophies this year,” he said. “It is not something I’m used to. I have never been in this position before, people know about my past in Barcelona.
“But it is just a blip for Chelsea. It is the first time in many years that Chelsea have been in this situation.
“All of the players and the club in general are looking forward to changing what happened this year. We want to put the club back where itsame players will be here, plus a few signings, so we will certainly be able to challenge for more titles.”
Pedro sincerely hopes that Chelsea will return strongly next season under their new manager Antonio Conte. The former Juventus manager who has signed a three year deal with the Blues, met with the Chelsea players earlier this month and left a strong impression on them.
“He is a great coach and that is why the club have put their faith in him for the future.
“He came to the training ground and watched us in training, met the players as well. But we are still thinking about the here and now, playing against Tottenham and the other games to come. We want to do something for our fans who have stood by us all year.”