Nemanja Matic kept Eden Hazard company for their appearance on Chelsea TV’s Friday Night Live show and was naturally questioned about today’s big match at Liverpool.
The midfielder is widely expected to start this league encounter as he is ineligible for the games either side, both in the Champions League, and answering questions sent in by supporters or posed by host Gigi Salmon during the live show, he looked ahead to facing the side we beat at home in December, a fortnight before he resigned for Chelsea.
‘It’s very important for us, for all the people in the club, for the fans,’ he said of this afternoon’s meeting.
‘We prepared well, we have trained very hard and we are ready for the game.
‘The finish to the season is interesting, it’s good for English football and for the Premier League. Three games to the end we don’t know who is going to be champions and who is going down. We will see at the end who is going to be happy and who is going to be sad.’
Chelsea have the best record this season in points won from games between the top seven sides, but Matic said that is not a very important statistic for him.
‘Of course when we play against the other top teams its special for us but after the game you forget everything and you just think about the next game. It doesn’t matter if you play against a small team or a big team.’
Looking back as well as at this season during the show, Matic was asked to compare now with when he was first at Chelsea between 2009 and 2010.
‘Chelsea always grows,’ he responded. ‘Every day the club is better and better. The team is younger and we have a lot of quality and I think the organisation in the club is much better.
‘The biggest change is I have a wife now, I have a son of three years old and another baby is on the way. In one month we will get a girl.
‘In our home we bought for my son a small bus of Benfica, and I explained to him where I sit in that bus. Always before I go to the game he shows me where I have to sit. When we came to London he saw the normal bus in the city and he said “Father, you have to go there! You have to go to the game in this bus.” It was very funny.
He further recalled his first Chelsea spell and the strong competition he faced for a place in midfield.
‘For me it was just a pleasure to train with players like Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien because I was young. In my position were big players, good players in the best moments of their career, so for me it was like a dream when I came to Chelsea the first time, to play with players I just saw on television.
‘Now I’m very happy to be back here, it’s a pleasure to be part of this team, to work with the staff and the coaches.
‘Thanks to my team-mates like Eden, who gives me the ball, they try to make me more comfortable on the pitch. They help me a lot and with them adaption is easier.’
After Liverpool, it will be all attention on the second leg against Atletico.
‘We made a good result there in Madrid,’ said Matic. ‘Now we play at home, we have this advantage to play in front of our fans. Of course I cannot play but I will be with the team and I’m sure that Chelsea is going to make a good game and of course we will give our best.’