I think it was good even though, of course, we lost two away games against BATE Borisov and Rennes. Apart from that, I’ve think we’ve been good and consistent. We gained in confidence and we got stronger the further we got into the Europa League. The coach has known how to use the whole squad well and has given everyone playing time. Everyone has been involved and participated in this campaign throughout the season.
The return leg against BATE. Even if we had only lost 1-0 in the first leg, we knew we had to get the job done at home. Then there was the first match against Napoli, and we were very good defensively away from home as well. Then, of course, Valencia, where we knew that it was double or nothing. That was the key moment. There was also the return leg against Rennes, having lost the first leg 3-1 in France, with that great atmosphere. But as a group we were confident coming back from Rennes, and that showed on the pitch.
Yes, we’ve played more together towards the end of the competition. The coach rotated us both at the start, so we played with other players. Of course, we get on very well. We speak the same language, both on and off the pitch, so that helps.
It’s natural. You always have to work in training. We talk a lot before matches, depending on the opponents, about what each one of us can expect from the other to take the club to the top. Off the pitch it’s been very natural. When he arrived, by the end of the second day, we were having a laugh together. We quickly struck up a rapport, but it’s very easy to get on with him because he likes having a laugh, like me. We share the same values in life so it’s been pretty easy.
I think he’s had a good season. It was hard for him because he needed to learn about the Premier League and English football. That was new to him. He didn’t have much experience with a team like that. He was able to learn what it means to play and coach in England. I think it’s gone pretty well.
He’s always positive, maybe sometimes a bit too much in my opinion! Yes, he’s very positive. You can see that he loves working with the squad and that he gets a lot out of training and coaching his players every day. Every detail is important to him because he knows how to get to the next level.
I do. Each time we come to do some video work, everything is ready, he knows exactly what’s going to happen on the video. You can see that he’s prepared everything really well. He knows every team, not necessarily inside out, but definitely very well. He knows their strengths and weaknesses, and that makes it much easier going into games.
It feels good, it’s a relief. They say that bad things come in threes [defeats], so I was a bit worried about that, but it all went well over in Valencia and I’m happy now to be looking ahead to this final. Chelsea are a very good team, strong tactically, both in defence and in attack. They’ve had their ups and downs this season, as is the case with most ‘normal’ teams, but they deserve to be in the final, and finals are always difficult, so we’ll see how it goes.
"ALL WE WANT IS TO WIN. WHETHER OUR OPPONENTS ARE FROM ENGLAND OR ELSEWHERE, IT'S ALL THE SAME"
No, not particularly; it would be exactly the same if it was a German team. From my point of view, all we want is to win and to get our hands on the trophy, so whether our opponents are from England or elsewhere, it’s all the same.
No, of course we’re thinking about it. We’re so close to winning that we can’t not think about it. A European trophy is always special as a player, but it would be a mistake to think we’ve won before the game has even been played.
Yes. Even though he’s getting old, you can still see that he’s got plenty of talent. He’s been very useful this season in terms of allowing us to hold on to our lead or getting points. Petr has been important.