UNDER-21S: VITAL EXPERIENCES

Our Under-21s will be looking to build on an impressive 5-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers when we welcome Liverpool to Griffin Park on Friday night, a game which can be seen live on Chelsea TV, and manager Dermot Drummy believes we will need to be at the top of our game in order to secure back-to-back wins.

Having opened the new campaign with a goalless draw against Manchester City, the match against Wolves was a good chance to get a first win under our belt, and after Lucas Pinzon had given us a first-half lead, we turned in an accomplished, ruthless display which the visitors simply couldn’t live with.

‘The whole occasion pleased me,’ Drummy tells the official Chelsea website. ‘Playing at the Bridge with the fans there, the players enjoyed it, you could see that, and the staff enjoyed being there as well.

‘To put in a performance like that against a good side was really pleasing. I saw Wolves draw against Liverpool, and we really had to perform well to get that result. To get young players such as Jeremie Boga and Fankaty Dabo on was a bonus as well.

‘We’re keeping clean sheets, which is obviously a good thing, and Jamal Blackman’s performing well, so it’s been a good start so far.’

This season, the young players have the opportunity to play in front of larger sized crowds than they had previously been accustomed to.

Over 3,000 supporters were present for the game against Manchester City, while there was another good turnout for the Wolves game at Stamford Bridge, something which makes the whole concept mutually beneficial, both for the players and supporters, as the manager explains.

‘It just gives them experience which they normally wouldn’t get,’ he says. ‘The best hope these players have at the moment is performing in the Capital One Cup.

‘Lucas Piazon is playing very well and training with the first team on a regular basis, but any time we can play at Stamford Bridge is massive, and it also gives the fans the chance to come along to the ground and see some of our younger players in action.’

Four points from our opening couple of fixtures is a decent return, but Liverpool are expected to provide a sterner test of our credentials than Wolves were able to a couple of weeks ago.

Under the stewardship of Rodolfo Borrell, a former Barcelona coach, the Merseysiders play an attacking brand of football, and Drummy, having watched them in action only a few weeks ago, is aware of the threat they will pose.

‘I went to watch them when they played Crystal Palace with Ed Brand, a young coach who’s working with us,’ he says.

‘They’re a good side; we were well beaten there last season. They play 4-3-3, which is similar to us, they have very good players and are an attack-minded side, so I think it will be a fantastic game.

‘Their coach is very well-respected, they play good football and work really hard so it will be a very tough match.’

The new-look league, in terms of results, has started in a positive manner for the Blues, but it’s not just on a match day where the attitude of the players has given their manager reason to be optimistic.

‘I can only say at the moment that the whole feel of the league is so different to last year,’ says Drummy. ‘I don’t think we’ve had a flat training session yet, which means the boys are up for it every day. They’re looking at the fixtures and they want to play in these games.

‘The link with the first team is fantastic. They know Steve Holland is coming to watch, Robbie [Di Matteo] was watching the friendly against Charlton last week, so there’s a feel-good factor around at the moment.’

Chelsea Under-21s v Liverpool is live and exclusive on Chelsea TV from 7pm on Friday 14 September.

Supporters wishing to attend the game can purchase tickets on the night from Griffin Park, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors.

JAPANESE JOINS OUR LOCAL LANGUAGE LIST

Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the launch of our new official Japanese language website.

This is the latest international site designed to appeal to our ever-growing worldwide fan base, joining local-language sites in Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Thai, along with our extensive English-language presence.

The launch is yet another demonstration of our commitment to the growth of football in Asia, following on from our ‘Here to Play, Here to Stay’ summer tour in 2011, when we visited Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Chief executive Ron Gourlay said: ‘This Japanese launch once again shows how serious we are in our commitment to our supporters around the world.

‘With more than five million fans in Japan, it is a pleasure to be able to offer this service, and show that we are closer than ever to our followers in Asia.

‘As a club, we are extremely excited to be visiting Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup in December and look forward to being able to play in front of these passionate and knowledgeable supporters.’

Following on from our 2011 tour, this summer our youth team also visited both Malaysia and Thailand, taking part in training sessions at our Blue Pitches, which place first-class coaching into local communities.

A weekly E-newsletter is also available to all our fans in Asia who register as e-members on their local language website. Registration is free and it features match previews and reviews as well as special promotions and competitions that offer some great prizes from the club.

>>Click to visit the Japanese language website.

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: MEIRELES SAYS FAREWELL AND THANKS

On Wednesday afternoon Raul Meireles visited Cobham for the final time before he begins to play for his new club Fenerbahçe. Chelsea TV spoke to the Portuguese midfielder before he left.

Meireles transferred to Turkey last week having made 48 appearances during his year at Chelsea. The 29-year-old explained to the club’s own channel why he was at the training ground.

‘I came to say goodbye to my friends and of course I will miss this club and the fans and the city,’ he said. ‘There are some great people here, they always supported me and they help everyone, so of course I had to come to say goodbye to everyone.’

Meireles reflected on the Chelsea chapter of his career that despite his absence from the big climax in Munich due to suspension, involved in some historic and memorable matches.

‘It was a great year,’ he said. ‘The last part of the season was great, we won the Champions League, the FA Cup, and it was very good for me. I will miss these moments but it is a new challenge for me and I am ready to go to Turkey. I hope things go well for me like they did at Chelsea this year.

‘I have been to Fenerbahçe just to sign, and tomorrow is my first day and I am excited to start.

‘Thanks to the fans for their support and I will miss this club a lot, it was very nice to play for Chelsea.’

Join Chelsea TV online for a chance to win a VIP experience which includes the below prizes for the winner and a friend. Click for more information. 

– Meet a ‘mystery player’ in the Chelsea TV studio (autograph and photograph opportunity)
– Watch a player phone-in behind-the-scenes in the Chelsea TV gallery
– Dinner at Marco’s
– Stay at Copthorne Hotel with breakfast

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: RETURNING TO NORMAL

The lunchtime Blues News bulletin, which can be viewed here, is anticipating the return of the bulk of the squad following games across the globe.

There will be action from the training session as preparations for the Queens Park Rangers match begin in earnest on Chelsea TV this evening at 6.30pm and 10pm.

Join online for a chance to win a VIP experience which includes the below prizes for the winner and a friend:

– Meet a ‘mystery player’ in the Chelsea TV studio (autograph and photograph opportunity)

– Watch a player phone-in behind-the-scenes in the Chelsea TV gallery

– Dinner at Marco’s

– Stay at Copthorne Hotel with breakfast

TRAINING CHANCES

For a top, established Barclays Premier League football club such as ours, the international break is a peculiar time.

On one hand, the fact we have so many players going off to represent their respective nations is testament to the quality of the work being carried out at Cobham and Stamford Bridge, but on the other, training sessions for those left behind can become rather low-key affairs.

However, as assistant first team coach Steve Holland explains, for one particular group of players, the international break represents a wonderful opportunity to showcase their talent.

‘We’ve been working with a group of only four players for the past six or seven days, so first and foremost it means the focus is very individually specific and not team-based,’ Holland tells the official Chelsea website.

‘Secondly, there are opportunities for younger players and reserve players to be under the eye of the manager in order to support the training group.

‘Roberto [Di Matteo] would normally work with 20 players, so opportunities are limited for younger players unless there are injuries, but the international break is a time when they will get a chance to train with some senior players and under the scrutiny of senior management staff.’

Holland’s own role while the group is depleted doesn’t change too dramatically, but while his main focus is on the players who are available to train, he is also required to keep an eye on those involved in internationals elsewhere in order to make the correct decisions regarding their individual requirements when they return.

‘As the players begin to come back it’s a case of trying to establish match minutes,’ he says. ‘Oriol Romeu, for example, was involved with Spain Under-21s, while Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz played for Brazil.

‘So it’s about establishing who needs to train, who needs to rest and how many players do we need to do the work we want to do in preparing for the Queens Park Rangers game.’

It’s been a solid start to the league campaign by Di Matteo’s side, with three successive wins ensuring we top the table as we prepare to return to league action.

Saturday sees us make the short trip to take on Mark Hughes’s side at Loftus Road, but while preparations ahead of such an important game need to be meticulous, the first game back after an international break, as Holland explains, is often one of the most difficult to prepare for.

‘It’s very difficult, without a doubt,’ he says. ‘We’ve been helped by internationals being moved from Wednesday night to Tuesday night. It might not sound much, but that extra one day makes a big difference.

‘When they played internationals on a Wednesday, the players wouldn’t come back until a Thursday afternoon, bearing in mind they’re flying in from all over the world, not just Europe.

‘So, on a Thursday, all you would be doing is touching base with them, which means you only have one day – the Friday – to prepare for a Saturday game.

‘That’s better now in that we can allow the players to recover and then have two days to prepare for the QPR game. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than it was, and it’s the same for everybody.’