Marc Cucurella has reflected on the progress made so far in the opening months of the season and how the presence of a large Spanish-speaking contingent at Chelsea is aiding the team’s development.
The left-back is now in his second season at Chelsea since joining the club from Brighton & Hove Albion last year, but even in his relatively short time in west London he has seen a number of new team-mates arrive to join him with the Blues.
Combined with the arrival of a new head coach in Mauricio Pochettino, the changes have resulted in an inevitable period of bedding in for the team this season, as the new arrivals to Chelsea and England settle and understanding between team-mates is built.
However, looking back at his own early days at Stamford Bridge and experiences since, Cucurella explains that it is the unique pressure that comes with playing for a big club like Chelsea which can require the most adaptation.
‘When you come to a big club, for sure the pressure is there,’ he said. ‘When you go to a normal club, there is not this pressure. It’s different. You need to win but the objectives are different. Here at Chelsea, every week, every game, you have to win. Otherwise the team and fans aren’t happy. That is the big difference.
‘We are creating good habits here, a good young team, and are starting to build something important. It’s not enough so far because we want to win every game but I think the way we are playing now is good.
‘We need to keep producing our best performance and manage the small details, mistakes. Once we do this, we can win more games and the pressure is eased.’
Two of the new additions to the squad for 2023/24 are people he knows well, having played alongside Robert Sanchez and Moises Caicedo at Brighton before they followed him in making the move from the Seagulls to the Blues in the summer.
On top of being familiar faces, Cucurella believes the fact they add two more members to the growing number of native Spanish speakers, both within the squad and the coaching staff, adds to the understanding within the group on and off the pitch.
‘I am very happy they joined,’ said Marc on Sanchez and Caicedo’s arrivals. ‘I told them it’s an important club, they would feel very good here, that I am happy here, and that we would have a Spanish mafia!
‘That we can speak as well with the manager in Spanish makes it easier to explain our mistakes or what we need to do on the pitch.
‘We have a really good team, are very close inside and outside the pitch, and I think when these relationships are good then on the pitch we can play together.’
Regardless of language, though, the defender explained how the close relationship the squad has with Pochettino and his staff is playing an important part in the team’s development during this crucial period of building.
‘He is a good manager. We know we are a good team and one of the important things is to have the team healthy, because we run a lot and press a lot. Now it’s about playing and getting confidence.
‘The coaching staff like to be close with the players and speak with us, I think that is good for the team. We need to feel the confidence and I think he and his staff help a lot.
‘We are in a good way and need to continue. There are a lot of games to finish the season and if we continue in this way, we can do good things this season.’