Luiz: Winning Champions League will prove I'm no flop
Published 22:21 31/03/12 By Steve Stammers
David Luiz goes into Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Benfica determined to provide further proof that he is no £20million flop.
Luiz aims to play his part in guiding the Blues into the semi-finals by seeing off his old club at Stamford Bridge.
The Brazilian arrived at Chelsea in January last year – but has struggled to make an impact as a central defender.
But he feels he is now acclimatised to the demands of English football. He said: “I feel I have adapted well and Chelsea have helped me a lot.
“I like the Premier League and I feel it is magical because it always comes down to the last minute to see who will finish first.”
That is unlikely to be Chelsea this year – which explains why Luiz is driven to play in the Champions League next season.
His club can achieve that goal either by finishing in the top four of the Premier League or by the emerging triumphant in the tournament this season.
Chelsea took a massive step towards the last four with a 1-0 win in the first leg in Lisbon last week and Luiz said: “Now we will give everything to beat them again at home. At Chelsea we want to win the Champions League.
“It is an obsession for me and every top player in the world to do that.
“When I joined the club, that is what I wanted to do. I don’t want to play in the Europa League.
“That is why we will give everything to be in the Champions League next season. It is also possible for us to win the FA Cup – and either Manchester City or Manchester United will finish the season winning nothing.”
A warning that Benfica still pose a threat came from defender Paulo Ferreira.
He said: “We know they are capable of scoring away from home. So we need to be careful because they will not think it is over yet. We have the upper hand but they only need one goal and we are all equal. We have an inner strength here at Chelsea and of course I still believe in the team.
“We have wonderful players and we have to keep believing.”
The upheaval at Stamford Bridge has been blamed on owner Roman Abramovich who has changed managers on a regular basis with Andre Villas-Boas giving way recently to Roberto di Matteo, who is in charge until the end of the season.
And midfielder John Obi Mikel declared: “It has been a difficult season as a player.
“You can question the owner but the owner wants results and he wants to win trophies.
“If things are not right, it is his money and his team so he has the right to change things.
“Tomorrow, if he says he wants to get rid of us players and wants to get new ones, we will respect him. It is his money and his business.”
Mikel also revealed that the squad have talked as a group about their ambition for the season.
“We are all together and helping each other – even from the bench. The team comes first.
“The players have re-grouped and spoken among ourselves. But there has never been players power here. The manager has always been in control.”