Victor Moses says Chelsea have no fear of Manchester City and has issued a winter rallying cry for the Premier League champions as they go into a busy fixture period.
The 26-year-old is closing in on a return from a grade three hamstring strain and was forced to watch on as Man City gained a nine point lead in the table.
Chelsea have struggled to keep up with Moses and others out, with City on a nine-game winning run in the league. Meanwhile, there have been rumours that Stamford Bridge has been a unhappy place to be with Antonio Conte’s future being constantly discussed and David Luiz being recently dropped from the side for the club’s win over Manchester United.
Moses insists that the squad are still like “brothers” and are ready close the gap ahead of a busy run of fixtures.
“I think we have done well. We as a team, whatever happens, we stick together as a team and do the best we can,” Moses told Goal after being shortlisted for both the BBC’s African Footballer of the Year and the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Player of the Year awards. “I think people have been a bit too harsh but we as players don’t need to think about that or concentrate on what people have been saying.
“These criticisms are the kinds of things that makes a player stronger. We know that we just need to believe in ourselves and prove them wrong then win as many games as I can. We are 100 per cent together. We are like brothers here and we are all sticking together and working hard together.
“Even after losing against Roma, we believe in ourselves collectively and individually. We have great players. We just take each game as it comes. We beat Manchester United, now everyone is saying that we’re the best. Football is like this. We believe in ourselves and work hard together as a team.
“Why can’t we compete with City, United or any other club? Our players are good enough to compete with anyone. We have a lot of games to go so you can’t tell who’s going to win the league. We are nine points from Man City but we believe in ourselves and we believe that something can happen further down the line and that we will find ourselves back at the top.
“We still believe in ourselves and in the manager we have got so we will keep working hard and see where it takes us. Yes, this season is going to be harder than last season now we’re in the Champions League as well. We are playing Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday on most weeks, but as players we are not looking at that.
“We are just trying to play as many games as possible and trying to win football matches. If we can win all the trophies then that would be a great bonus for us. We don’t need to compete with City alone.
“We beat them home and away last season and we are the champions of England so we can believe in ourselves and we all want to win every trophy this season. We are still in the Champions League, Premier League and Carabao Cup, then there’s the FA Cup as well.
“We want to try to win all trophies. We try to do that and then going into the World Cup, that would give you more confidence going into the World Cup to help your nation.”
Moses had his breakthrough season at Chelsea last year after impressing Conte in pre-season. The newly arrived manager decided against sending him on loan again after spells with Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham, and instead turned him into a right wing-back.
The Nigeria international went on to win his first ever Premier League title and he earned a new deal at Chelsea in the process. Moses said the new contract has helped him feel like an integral part of the squad and given him the confidence to achieve even more at the highest level.
“Definitely, it gave me even more of a boost to go out there and enjoy my football,” Moses added when asked about his contract. “The new deal gave me a lot more confidence to say this is where I belong, this is where I want to play, this is where I want to help my team and to win trophies.
“Chelsea is one of the biggest football clubs in the world. I am happy here and enjoying it. I have always believed in myself. As a footballer it is essential to have that belief. I had been on loan three times. I always said to myself that I wanted to break into this team, to do the best I can for this football club.
“The right manager came in and recognised how hard I had worked. It isn’t just myself. The other lads who have been on loan have had their chances, all played games. I am pleased to see a manager that gives everyone an opportunity to express themselves and play football.
“Yes, it isn’t just me. Andreas Christensen has worked hard for himself and the manager has seen that as well. He is getting the opportunity to play and is doing well at the moment. It is good for a manager to believe in the ability that you’ve got and give you the confidence to go out and enjoy your football.
“He did it last season with me and is doing it this season. We had a manager that came here and gave everyone an opportunity to express themselves. In pre-season, I worked hard. He realised that straight away and he gave me the opportunity to express myself last season.
“I took the opportunity with both hands and then I didn’t look back. As a footballer, if you work hard, then everything else falls into place.”
Last week Chelsea saw the departure of Michael Emenalo as technical director after 10 years at the club. Emenalo had an influential role in the recruitment and development of players at the club but left in order to spend more time with his family.
Moses and Emenalo are both from Nigeria and the pacey wide man was photographed with his compatriot after signing his new deal. After the departure, Moses was full of praise for the influence his outgoing countryman had over his career.
“He is someone that has always believed in the ability that I have got,” Moses said. “He has always stuck by me and he’s always believed that I am going to achieve something at this club. As you can see last season, I did the best I can to help my team-mates and to make sure that we win the league.
“He is someone who has always encouraged me to make sure I get to the next level. Even when I was on loan, he was always encouraging me, speaking to me. To make sure I am doing the right thing, making sure I am enjoying my football and making sure I reach my best level in the future.
“He believed that I had a future here at Chelsea. He helped me from the very first day that I got here so I want to wish him all the best in his career. I want to wish him and all his family the best as well.”
Moses will find out whether he is the winner of the BBC African Player of the Year award on Monday, December 11, while the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Player of the Year award will be announced on January 4, 2018.
Culled from Goal