Florent Malouda insists that greater competition for places at Chelsea are making the side even stronger, as they prepare to take on Manchester United in a clash of title contenders tomorrow.
While United will be favourites to hold their own at Old Trafford after a rampant start to their campaign, Chelsea know first hand how to stop a run of big wins at the start of the season.
Malouda has been fighting with summer signing Juan Mata for a place on the Blues’ starting line up, and the winger says that it’s motivating him to keep improving and taking every opportunity.
“I arrived in 2007 and when you look at the names and the people who have arrived at this club, there has always been competition, there is nothing new in it,” Malouda told the official Chelsea website.
“There was Yury Zhirkov and there was Joe Cole, we have always had big players and it is the way for a player to give his best for the team.
“If you are sure you have your place you will not compete and you will not come in every day to training to improve. Having this quality is setting a level to which you perform.
“So it is not really a problem and the way Juan is playing is really good for the forward players because he really has a good touch.”
Malouda said that the new signings have settled into Stamford Bridge particularly well, with players using long standing friendships with each other to develop a close-knit group.
“Juan knew Fernando really well and we have a lot of Spanish-speaking people working at the training ground who want to help,” he said.
“Raul Meireles is a good friend of Jose Bosingwa, they were playing together in the past, and last year when we played Liverpool I remember he stayed with Jose. It is like when I came here and there was Didier [Drogba], so there are connections and when you arrive you get into the flow.”
Chelsea are raring to get out onto the pitch tomorrow and find out just how good United really are, and Malouda believes that while Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez will be the key players to stop, the Blues are going into the match expecting to take away three points.
He explained: “The pair of Rooney and Chicharito is the dangerous one because Rooney is like the playmaker, and you must be aware of his position, and Chicharito is always hiding and finding the good space behind the team. That is the key to the game, being able to stop them.
“We don't care how Man United was playing before, this will be a different game.
“I think we have looked solid since the beginning of the season and they have not really had that kind of opposition in front of them in the beginning of the season. It will be a good test for both teams and we are going there to win.”