Chelsea star Pedro still fells nervous before a final – despite TWENTY-FOUR medals
PEDRO has won a staggering TWENTY-FOUR trophies — yet admits he still feels tense ahead of big finals.
The Europa League is the only title missing from the Spaniard’s CV.
His trophy cabinet includes the Premier League, World Cup, European Championship and numerous La Ligas.
And there will be a new addition if Chelsea beat Arsenal in Baku on Wednesday.
Pedro, 31, said: “At home, I have the replica trophies. I am very happy because in my career it has been so good to win a lot of titles.
“The Europa League is special for me because I don’t have this title. It is the first time in my career to play in it.
“You always feel the pressure and tension. It is a final. It is the one opportunity to win the title.”
Pedro will hope to start after netting in the quarter-finals against Slavia Prague and the last four clash with Frankfurt.
And the former Barcelona star has advice for his less experienced team-mates going into the Gunners clash.
'FOCUSED FOR THE FIGHT'
He warned: “Be ready and be focused from the start.
“When you play a final and go behind it is so difficult to win, to come back. So it is important all the team are focused for the fight.”
David Luiz believes the success of English teams in Europe this season reflects a change in the way defenders are perceived.
When the Brazilian joined Chelsea for his first spell in 2011, he was often blasted for overplaying.
Now Luiz seems to have been ahead of his time with the possession game now very much in vogue.
And it could well be one of his pinpoint passes that helps boss Maurizio Sarri to the first bit of silverware of his career.
He said: “I love that — it’s the evolution of football.
“I remember when I started, nobody wanted me to play the ball out from the back. Everybody wanted me to kick it long.
“It depended on the style of the coach but now everybody understands.
“The top six in England, which has four teams in the European finals, are all teams who play the ball out from the back, play a possession game, try to create.
“Football is all about gaining time — if you put the ball up in the air, you’re going to lose time.
“That’s why we try to build from the back, to give the players with the talent the time to receive the ball and make the difference.”
ALL TO LUIZ
Luiz was part of the Chelsea side that won the Europa League in 2013 by defeating Benfica, who had sold him to the Blues two years earlier.
He said: “It was a difficult final not just on the pitch but also emotionally, because I had good friends there.
"In the end we won so I was happy but I was a bit sad for them. In football there is only one winner.
“This is a totally different occasion. It’s a big London derby, big opponents, a high-level rivalry.”
Luiz worked briefly at Paris Saint-Germain under Unai Emery.
It has been an up-and-down first Arsenal season for the Spanish boss, who won the Europa League three times in a row with Sevilla.
But Luiz has been impressed with how his old gaffer has fared.
He said: “It is never easy to change, especially after the many years Arsene Wenger was there.
“Unai came to try and build a new philosophy and to try to gain the trust of the players, from the fans and from the club. I think he has been doing an amazing job.
“I had the opportunity to work with Unai for a few months. He’s a great guy, a great coach, a great person. In this competition especially, he knows how to win.
“That’s why Arsenal are there, that’s why Unai is there — again!”
Luiz will come up against another old friend in Petr Cech.
The Czech keeper, who joined Arsenal from Chelsea in 2015, will play his last before retiring and is then expected to take up a sporting director role back at the Blues.
Luiz added: “Pete is fantastic, a great person, a great man. He is the best goalkeeper I played with and one of the best professionals I had the opportunity to work with.
“I wish Petr could be on our side! I hope he plays a good game but I hope we win against him.”
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