Pressure? WHAT pressure?
Felix plays it cool before defining night for Potter
JOaO FeliX has insisted chelsea will be under ‘zero pressure’ on a defining european night — but hinted the champions league could be pivotal to deciding his future beyond this season.
Felix, on loan at chelsea from atletico Madrid, spoke with the assuredness of the elite player he is ahead of tonight’s last-16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund at stamford Bridge, in which Graham Potter’s side must overturn a 1-0 deficit.
Dortmund are second in the Bundesliga and have won 10 games in a row, including their first- leg victory over chelsea at signal iduna Park three weeks ago.
complete the job and they would reach the quarter-finals at the Blues’ expense, ending Potter’s last chance of silverware this season.
it would also put Potter’s future back in the spotlight after saturday’s 1-0 win over leeds eased some of the scrutiny on the manager.
Felix said: ‘Zero pressure. This is our job. We just have to enjoy it, win the games and ensure our levels of confidence and attention are right because we have to win. But we will enjoy it and if we do things right we will win.’
Winning the champions league is chelsea’s best hope of making next year’s competition, with Potter’s side 11 points adrift of the top four in the Premier league.
Felix, who joined chelsea in January on a six-month loan, was cagey about where he will play next season but champions league football is likely to be a key factor.
‘Playing champions league is an important decision but no one knows the future, so let’s see what happens and then we’ll see,’ said Felix, 23.
‘i really want to win this game. i love playing champions league. it’s a special competition and let’s hope after 90 minutes we are here to celebrate.’
Felix was doing the opposite after a red card on his debut at Fulham, which led to him being sidelined for a month.
‘it was a stupid red card,’ reflected the Portugal star. ‘in the time i’m here, i want to help, i want to play, i want to score, i want to win.’
Potter urged his players to relish the task they are facing tonight and played down the personal significance of Dortmund’s visit, when asked whether victory could help change the narrative surrounding him.
he said: ‘i’m not thinking about it in that way. i’m thinking about how important it is for the team and club. it’s a huge challenge but what an opportunity. stamford Bridge will be rocking and we will give it everything to go through.
‘The fans are always entitled to air their views and they have been suffering like the rest of us. They know how important they are because in the champions league away from home it is tough — and we want to make sure it is tough for Dortmund. We need our supporters for that.
‘You should always welcome pressure because it means you are in a fantastic situation, which is to compete for the last eight of the champions league. it’s a wonderful competition and it will be a special night.’