Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed that defeating Aston Villa at the weekend was particularly important in terms of providing further proof that the players are getting fitter – and taking on board the new manager’s principles.
Chelsea beat Villa 2-0, with youngster Josh McEchran and £50 million man Fernando Torres scoring to bring together experience and hope for the Blues as they look to challenge for European glory next season.
And Mikel said that the players were concentrating on getting a winning mentality back, as well as full fitness in preparation for their opening match against Stoke on August 14.
“It was good and for us it was all about getting back to our fitness but at the same time it was an important game," the Nigeria international said. “We wanted to win this trophy, the manager really wanted us to win it too, and we went out and did what we had to do.
“We played well and we stuck well to our plan we had before the game. We wanted to go out there and put pressure on and score an early goal. Then we could take control of the game which is what we did.
“We kept playing and we knew that the second goal was going to come. Then we just had to keep the ball.”
Andre Villas-Boas echoed Mikel’s sentiments after the match, revealing that the side are focused on playing a more enjoyable, attacking style of football.
"We focus a lot on defensive objectives because we want the ball in our possession more and we want to attack more. For us to do it, we have to get it back as soon as possible,” Villas-Boas said.
"The appliance of the principles was only possible because of the excellent acceptance of these principles by the players and they are able to apply it. If they weren't able to apply it, you would be doing your job wrong. I think they are enjoying it."