Europa League: Fernando Torres says chance of silverware is keeping spirits high at Chelsea

The Blues take on Basel in the semi-final first leg on Thursday

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The Independent Football

Fernando Torres has suggested the Europa League is keeping spirits high among the Chelsea squad, ahead of their semi-final first leg in Basel on Thursday.

"The competition is helping the team a lot," he said. "It is giving us a lot of satisfaction - not like in the Premier League."

The Europa League remains the Blues' only chance of silverware this season and Torres believes they will salvage their season if they go on to lift the trophy in May. "The Europa League is keeping us in a good mood and thinking it could be a good season."

But Petr Cech has maintained that Basel pose a difficult challenge ahead of any potential final appearance. "It will be a very tough game," he insisted. "In the recent years they had a lot of success, and they got experience from playing the European cups."

Indeed, the Swiss have proved a problematic hurdle for English sides over recent years. Manchester United fell to defeat at St. Jakob Park in last season's Champions League, before Tottenham were knocked out on penalties in the Europa League quarter-final earlier this month.

The 30-year-old stopper has denied any suggestion that Chelsea are undervaluing the Europa League, following last season's success in the Champions League. "You can feel it's slightly different, but it's still a European night, you still have stadiums full and I think it's great."

Cech remains motivated by the opportunity to mark a European first, should Chelsea beat Basel and run out victorious in the Amsterdam Arena final. "We could be the first team in history to have won the Champions League and the Europa League back to back. So that would be a great achievement."

Victory on May 15 will also offer Cech and his Chelsea team-mates the opportunity to rectify a dismal showing in last year's Uefa Super Cup. The Blues lost 4-0 to Atletico Madrid at Stade Louis II, a defeat that still plays on the Czech international's mind. "What we all realise is that if you win the Europa League you can play the Super Cup again, and we got it terribly wrong in the Super Cup last year."

Meanwhile, Torres has admitted it has taken him a long time to settle into life at Stamford Bridge; the Spanish striker has managed just 14 goals since his move to West London in 2011. "The key is to adapt to a new system, new players, a new style of football, and that takes some time. In my case maybe more than it should." But the 29-year-old believes brighter prospects lie ahead, "I think my mind is open, more open than before, and I can see what I have to do to improve."


Fernando Torres and Petr Cech were speaking to ahead of the UEfa Europa League match between Chelsea FC and FC Basel 1893. To see the full interview go to