A focused Andre Villas Boas faced the press at Cobham today as Chelsea prepare to travel to the North East on Saturday to face Sunderland as the Premier League gets back underway after the international break.
With many Blues stars in action over the break it was also a chance for injured players to continue their recovery at Cobham and Villas Boas revealed that absentees Petr Cech and David Luiz will return to the traveling party that heads to the Stadium of Light for Saturday’s fixture.
‘David Luiz went with the national team last week. He was selected but not available to play because we felt he was in the last process of recovery. Both players have done extremely well since the whole squad got together yesterday.’
Villas Boas also welcomes back Daniel Sturridge who has been unfortunate to miss the seasons opening fixtures due to suspension after a promising pre-season and the manager feels now is the time to let the shackles off the 21 year old striker and for Sturridge to show his quality.
‘Sturridge never stopped training very, very well since his last game against Rangers where he scored twice. He is very competitive in training.
‘Everyone saw the part he can play, not only in our pre-season but at Bolton last year so it is a plus that he is available for selection and he can add to the team as well.’
New signings Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata made an immediate impact in the Blues last outing, with Mata scoring on his debut to seal a narrow victory against Norwich and deadline day signing Raul Meireles will be hoping for a similar start to life in SW6, should he feature in the squad.
Villas Boas explained the reasoning behind the clubs pursuit of the midfielder from Liverpool and explained that he had a part to play in the coming season.
“We wanted to fill a space in midfield and bring one more in. Yossi could play in the middle, in channels or behind the striker. We felt that towards what we wanted to achieve in terms of playing style Raul will fit. It was an extremely good idea for us and [we are] happy to have him.”
Chelsea will be looking to build on a patchy start to the Premier League campaign and with a congested fixture list ahead with Carling Cup and Champions League clashes on the horizon, a return to winning ways is paramount if the Blues are to build momentum ahead of a sustained challenge for the title.