Willian: Europa League final will define Chelsea's season

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The Brazilian midfielder admits 2018-19 hasn't been his best season, but victory against Arsenal in the Europa League final is now his only focus

Chelsea midfielder Willian says the only way the club’s season can be deemed a success is if the Blues return from Baku with the Europa League trophy next week.

After an up-and-down season at Stamford Bridge, the Brazilian freely admits that 2018-19 has not seen the best of him in terms of his own form – but all that will be forgotten if his side beat London rivals Arsenal in the Azerbaijancapital.

Despite Maurizio Sarri’s men finishing third in the Premier League table and reaching a major domestic final in the Carabao Cup, the pressure is on Chelsea to lift some all-important silverware.

And as questions remain around Sarri’s immediate future, as well as the choice of venue for the final and the all-Premier League nature of the fixture itself, Willian says the squad’s main focus is to lift the trophy. 

“I know that it has not been my best season,” he told The Mirror. “It was okay, but it wasn’t top. 

“I know I can play much better. Not only me, but the whole squad, it wasn’t our best season. We all know we can do better.

“But at the end we set some targets and we reached some of them. We reached the Carabao Cup Final, reached the third position in the Premier League and now we have the Europa League Final to play.

“If you see at the end and we win the trophy, then I think it’s been a good season. We have qualified for the Champions League and can win a European trophy which is a good season, even though we always want more.”

The 30-year-old, who started 26 out of 38 Premier League fixtures this season, tasted European success with Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2009 UEFA Cup, and was one of five Brazilians to start for the Ukrainians in the Istanbul final against Werder Bremen.

However, he is yet to lift a European trophy in the blue of Chelsea despite playing in the English capital for six years.

“We have to be strong and do everything possible to win this game,” he said.

“We are already motivated because it’s always good to win finals, always good to win trophies and this group of players has done that for many years. We want to win this trophy so much and we have to go there and make sure we come back with the trophy.

“It’s a derby game against Arsenal, who have a great team with great players, and we have to do everything possible to win. It’s always difficult to play against them. 

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“We want to win another trophy, a European trophy. It’s going to be a very good game and we believe we can do it.

“We have to play the same way, stay focused all of the time and go there to win. That’s what we want.

“A London derby in Baku will be a bit strange, but we have to go there with the right mentality to win this game and I don’t think it matters where we play.”