How important was Thiago Silva?
“I thought he was very good today. I spoke about quality and experience before the game and he brought both of those and it affects others around him, which I think he did. He was a big plus in terms of getting the clean sheet. Over the season, I will manage him and I have a very close relationship with him already even if he uses a translator. I will always work closely with him and I remember being in the same position myself towards the end of my career, in the last year in the Premier League. So I will be very aware of maintenance training and his selection as we want him to play as many games as we can to be at his optimum level.”
Better game management needed after Southampton and now they did better?
“Yes, I was pleased with that professional element to it after I spoke to the players about game management. I did say it the other day with where we are there’s new players coming in and trying to feel the way that we want to play. I feel, when you are playing in real-time without much time to train, that the Southampton game was a hit to us. I thought today was a really positive one as Sevilla are a top team in European football, there’s no doubt about it. The concentration and focus you need to get a result, to get a clean sheet tonight, was big for the team. The decisions they made when they defended well, the decisions to play longer rather than keep possession, the decisions were good tonight so it is a really nice place to build from.”
“Yes, I think it is a positive result, we felt what it was like last season when we lost the first game and the pressure to get out of the group which we did. So I understand the importance of the first game against quality opposition. The clean sheet was a big deal for us today because they can give you a lot of problems. They play a physical way, a distinct style which made them hard to press and we matched them. I feel the two teams slightly worked each other out. It was an interesting game, a good game to manage and I am happy with the 0-0. I am pleased with the side for getting a clean sheet which was a big deal for us tonight.”
Cech included in the Premier League squad?
“Yes, Petr has been training with the goalkeepers for a little while now. He has been training a lot of days with them which is valuable for the experience [of the other goalkeepers] and that he is passing on that quality to them. We had that space in the squad and we know this year, it looks like no other because of Covid and isolation so it was a very easy one. Pete still does his day job and he is there if we need him.”
Lopetegui said that Chelsea are one of the teams who can win the Champions League this season, agree?
“I didn’t consider it too much. I saw it. Things before games I don’t put too much on them because I think it is normal to talk well about the other team, it’s something I always do. They are a quality team. Can Sevilla win the tournament? Yes they can, there are a lot of teams who can win it. For us, I am not jumping down the line, I am just looking at us now, we are early in our season, we’re a few games in and we are going to get better. The clean sheet today was a nice side for us about how we are working and the personnel we had today, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. We are going step by step at the minute.”
Petr Cech, what shape is he in and what chances of seeing him this season?
“He is fit, very fit. He is still relatively young. He finished playing when he possibly could have carried on. He has taken on his role at Chelsea very well and he has been very helpful to me and we work closely together. He trains fairly regularly and he is fit. Whether we will see him much this season, I am not sure. Has I mentioned before, it depends on how the season goes with COVID and isolation. We felt it was a no-brainer to have Pete in the squad for that reason and it helps me training every day. When he is in such good form it can only help the goalkeepers we have to see one of the world’s best in the modern era amongst us.”
European Super League, thoughts?
“I don’t know enough about it. I love the Premier League. I love the product that it is, as we all do in England. I wouldn’t be a huge fan reading the headlines as I have today. Chelsea, as far as I am concerned, are focused on the Premier League.”
Edouard Mendy, is it his number one shirt to lose now?
“I think the way he has played in the three games since being here, he has played very well. Made a good save today, two clean sheets. So at the minute, yes. I said when he came in it was good for competition. We knew his qualities and he is showing them already. So as it stands, yes it is. But that always remains something that is up for grabs, so that is why you have competition at clubs. The way he is playing I am very happy.”
Would you never like to see Cech again in Chelsea goal, or do you see the romance of a Chelsea return?
“It is definitely not done for the romance. Pete certainly enjoys the training because that is how he is. I would enjoy training more if my calves didn’t go tight every time I tried to sprint these days. With Pete I wouldn’t expect to happen this year. But I do know with the way he is and how fit he is that if we are in crisis times then you couldn’t ask for much better than having Petr Cech around. I don’t expect it, but nobody expected what we have seen in the last six or seven months around the world.”
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