Europa League glory will make Chelsea season a success says David Luiz
Blues look for a top-four finish in the league as well
Tuesday 16 April 2013
David Luiz believes Chelsea's season will still be a success if last season's Champions League winners qualify for next season's tournament and win the Europa League.
The Blues have seen seven trophy opportunities slip by this term after yesterday's 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City saw them relinquish their hold on the trophy.
"If you win the Europa League and stay to play Champions League next year of course it's a success," Luiz said.
"Some big teams in Europe don't win titles this year, so of course it's a success."
Chelsea have become accustomed to silverware in the 10-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, but earlier this season suffered the ignominy of becoming the first holders to exit the Champions League at the group stages.
But for the second year running Chelsea are the last British team standing in European competition and face Basle, conquerors of Tottenham, in the Europa League semi-final first leg in Switzerland next week.
For now the focus is on Wednesday's match with Fulham, with securing a place in the Barclays Premier League top four the main agenda.
Chelsea sit fourth, behind Arsenal, but the Craven Cottage clash is their game in-hand on Tottenham and victory would see the Blues move four points clear of fifth-placed Spurs, who next play on Sunday.
The still-to-be-confirmed meeting with Tottenham - rearranged due to the City semi-final - could conceivably be a play-off for the Champions League.
Chelsea belatedly showed their potential at Wembley in a second-half resurgence and will need to be on top form in the remaining weeks of the season to achieve their goals.
The Wembley fightback, after defeat in Moscow to Rubin Kazan, also showed how Chelsea must add depth to their squad to challenge across all competitions next term.
Luiz was focused on the present, rather than the future, though.
"This is Chelsea," Luiz said.
"When Chelsea want to play football they're just so good.
"We have a difficult competition. This season we want to win everything.
"Now we cannot win the league, but we can stay in the best position and we can win another European title. Work for that.
"The next season is the next season. The future."
Chelsea lost the Capital One Cup semi-final to Swansea over two legs and now the FA Cup, with the Europa League a third opportunity.
The perception might be that Chelsea lose big games, but Cesar Azpilicueta preferred to look at what is now at stake in the final weeks of the season.
He said: "It's not normal for Chelsea, but it's the reality. Now we need to be focused on the future.
"We have the semi-final of the Europa League that we can win and fight for the Champions League place.
"At the end of the season we will look at the balance of the season, but now it's one month of competition.
"It's the last month and the best games. We played one semi-final, now we're going to play the Europa League semi-final. We're fighting for third place and the Champions League.
"Now we need to be focused and not think about that because it doesn't matter. We need to win and it doesn't matter the way to do it.
"It's very important always to win trophies. We wanted to win all the trophies we had at the start of the season. Now the only trophy that we can win is the Europa League and we're going to try to win it."
A trophy is desirable, but Azpilicueta knows the priority must be securing a top-four place. The consequences of missing out on Champions League football for Chelsea are unthinkable.
He said: "We have one month. Champions League is massive for us for next season. We're going to try to get in."
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