By Marc Cucurella’s personal admission, his first season at Chelsea didn’t go to plan. Amid a torrent of managerial modifications on the membership, the left-back discovered that the shape which secured strikes from Barcelona, Getafe and Brighton in successive summers didn’t fairly comply with.
However the 25-year-old is making use of the teachings learnt over a troublesome 12 months to the present marketing campaign, and factors to mentality as being key.
“I am not pleased with my first season, however I can study rather a lot, particularly within the unhealthy moments,” he stated forward of Chelsea’s match in opposition to Manchester Metropolis on Tremendous Sunday, dwell on Sky Sports activities.
“I can study once I have to handle the pinnacle as a result of that’s so vital in soccer. Earlier than I got here right here, I at all times performed and performed effectively and by no means had issues like this.
“However right here once I got here, I did not play at my stage, I am just a little bit pissed off and I can study to handle this. Now I can present them that I am very completely satisfied right here and all of the issues I learnt final season, I can put right here on this season.
“I believe this season is healthier. I am superb mentally and I believe this is without doubt one of the vital issues as a result of if you’re good mentally and in your life, I believe you possibly can you possibly can play higher, you possibly can assist the staff and you may take pleasure in this.”
Cucurella has needed to look ahead to his alternatives beneath Mauricio Pochettino. He had largely been restricted to Carabao Cup appearances till just lately, beginning 4 of the final 5 Premier League matches.
The defender has topped numerous defensive classes amongst his team-mates in these video games too, together with tackles and headed clearances.
Whereas predominantly a left-back, Cucurella has began on the suitable this season, generally to fill positions left vacant by damage. The identical might be stated for his appearances at centre-back final time period too.
“It’s good as a result of if I play extra positions, I’ve extra alternatives so that is higher for certain,” the defender stated.
“I’ve by no means performed on the suitable and it’s not simple. Typically you want various things and it’s essential to have time to study as a result of it is the identical however on the alternative facet so it’s essential to change some issues.
“I bear in mind the primary minutes [at right-back], I felt just a little unusual as a result of what I wished to go a technique and my physique went to the within, however these are this small particulars. However then with extra minutes, you are able to do this. It’s good as a result of I attempt to do my finest and do regardless of the supervisor decides.”
Cucurella on working beneath Mauricio Pochettino…
“He’s a supervisor that loves work and that is one in every of issues I like as effectively as a result of I really feel higher once I work rather a lot. Once we work exhausting, I can play higher once I really feel good bodily.
“We have now began to construct a brand new challenge and it is troublesome as a result of now we have numerous new gamers. However I believe that the way in which we begin to do it is vitally good.
“If we comply with it and we by no means cease working, we attempt to enhance then I believe that the extent is there and we will do an excellent issues.”
Needing to fill spots would possibly sound unusual contemplating the dimensions of Chelsea’s squad. However with so many gamers jostling for simply 11 beginning locations, maintaining your self ready is significant if you’re not assured of recreation time.
Cucurella mirrored: “It’s troublesome as a result of all of the gamers wish to play, however a very powerful factor is in case you do not play, it’s essential to practice effectively. When you do not play after which you do not practice, you will not be prepared then when you have got the alternatives.
“So I attempt to do that, coaching to be prepared and I am ready when I’ve the chance with out stress. When I’ve the chance, I attempt to do my finest, I’ve an excellent stage after which it is our continuity. I am feeling good and I attempt to assist the staff when the supervisor decides.”
Growing and bettering your self is essential too. Cucurella has solely ever scored one Premier League objective with three assists at each Brighton and Chelsea, and is eager to enhance these statistics.
“I believe I can enhance numerous issues. I believe the primary one is scoring targets as a result of I’ve probabilities, however I by no means rating,” he added.
“In coaching, I rating rather a lot, however within the video games, I do not know why [I don’t score]. I believe when there’s a clear probability, I miss however when the probabilities isn’t clear, you rating.
“Within the final step of the pitch when it’s essential to help or rating targets… generally I play rather a lot and my stats aren’t superb in these phases.
“Possibly it is one of the vital vital issues I can enhance as a result of then you probably have all of the stats with numerous targets and assists, individuals say that you’ve got an excellent season.”
‘A lot of Chelsea positives from Spurs win’
The left-back’s subsequent probability to enhance these numbers comes on Tremendous Sunday, when Chelsea host Man Metropolis. It continues a difficult run of fixtures for the Blues who then play Newcastle, Manchester United and Cucurella’s former facet, Brighton.
Pep Guardiola’s facet have some thanks to provide Chelsea for his or her present first place standing within the Premier League, coming by advantage of the Blues’ chaotic 4-1 win in opposition to second-place Tottenham on Monday Night time Soccer.
Cucurella performed within the second half of the sport, when Nicolas Jackson went on to attain a match-winning hat-trick.
“Within the first half, I can not imagine what I what I watched,” he mirrored. “On the bench, you possibly can see every thing you are able to do in a recreation and also you noticed in these 45 minutes that it was a loopy recreation and for certain it’s higher in case you win.
“However I believe it is vitally vital for us as a result of it gave numerous confidence. For the followers as effectively, we all know it’s a crucial recreation for us, for the staff and the membership.
“We have now numerous Positive issues [from the game] as a result of we got here again, we got here up with a outcome and generally, now we have met some issues with this. We may see earlier than that it was not fairly often that we got here again for the outcome, so that is vital.
“Then as effectively, we will endure as a result of within the first quarter-hour, we did not play very effectively they usually performed higher than us. We suffered collectively and awaited our probabilities to attain. Then we scored 4 targets and perhaps at first of the season, now we have issues with the scoring targets.
“Nico [Jackson] scored a hat-trick, Reece [James] is again as effectively they usually play a very good recreation. So now we have numerous numerous good issues.
“We gained at an vital membership, one of many greatest golf equipment within the league and now we have three extra factors. Then we’re able to play in opposition to Man Metropolis this weekend.
“We all know the fixtures are troublesome, however I believe we will present the extent of the staff. Typically we aren’t very common [with results] so we will win after which lose and that is perhaps one factor we have to enhance.
“Enjoying in opposition to Man Metropolis could be very troublesome, however we come [into the game] with an vital win and now we have extra confidence from this recreation [against Spurs].
“We are going to attempt to do our greatest to win this recreation, we all know it is troublesome however I believe we’re prepared to indicate the those who that this staff is able to do good issues.”
How Guardiola helped develop Cucurella
Cucurella has underlying hyperlinks to Man Metropolis supervisor Guardiola. Each are from the Catalonia area of Spain and got here by way of La Masia. The Chelsea defender joined the famed Barcelona academy in 2012 as Guardiola departed as males’s first staff supervisor.
Whereas the pair didn’t cross paths on the membership, Cucurella has credited Guardiola’s affect throughout Barcelona for serving to his personal enchancment as a younger participant.
The 25-year-old defined: “He modified the mentality at Barcelona. Earlier than Guardiola, Barcelona had been an excellent staff and when he got here, they modified the philosophy, they performed wonderful soccer – I believe top-of-the-line groups within the historical past of soccer. They performed at one other stage.
“The philosophy within the Barcelona academy modified as a result of all of the groups, they play the identical type, the identical formation with the identical mentality and I believe this is excellent.
“We are able to see they do the identical right here at Manchester Metropolis. The staff performs very well they usually have good issues to indicate, yearly they alter some issues to attempt to enhance on this.
“I haven’t got a relationship with him, I’ve seen him at some occasions and I can converse just a little bit with him. He is an excellent particular person.
“Not for me personally however in my academy stage, they confirmed me rather a lot as a result of they modified their mentality and numerous issues I can learnt are from his concepts that he delivered to Barcelona.”
On the age of 25, Cucurella has loads of time to make the development he needs. Having had influences corresponding to Guardiola and now Pochettino to information the way in which, the left-back’s potential to study and enhance on his first season at Chelsea is already taking form.