Former Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit believes that tonight’s game against Sparta Prague is vital if the Blues are to save their season.
Chelsea take a 1-0 lead into the second leg at Stamford Bridge as they aim to reach the last-16 of the Europa League.
The west London club would never have expected to be competing in Europe’s second competition this season after their Champions League glory last year, but if they were to win it they would become only the fourth side to win all three of the major Uefa competitions, joining Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich in an elite group.
While often viewed as an unnecessary distraction, particularly in England, Gullit is in no doubt that the competition is important for Chelsea.
“They have to do well. The Europa League is important for any player,” insisted Gullit.
“It is a very important competition and if you think you are worth the Champions League and you go in the Europa League you don’t want to make a blunder and get knocked out easily so I think they will take it very seriously.
“Rafael Benitez won the Uefa Cup at the start of his career so he will make it clear that you have to do well in that competition.
“The whole world is watching a club like Chelsea and you have to do well.”
Gullit also believes that the Europa League provides an opportunity for the Chelsea players to win another trophy and it is not one that should be taken lightly.
“If you can win something you have to win everything in your career.
“You only have a short career until about 34 so you have to make sure that you win everything.
“Don’t take anything for granted. Never regret the things you haven’t done.”