Chelsea's Marcos Alonso 'felt like smashing TV' during Champions League draw
Marcos Alonso said he "felt like smashing the TV set" when he watched the Champions League draw play out without Chelsea, adding that the pain of missing out has made the Blues even more determined to get back into the Premier League's top four this season.
A disastrous run of results between January and March saw Chelsea finish fifth under Antonio Conte last season, and not even winning the FA Cup could redeem the club's failure to secure Champions League football for the second time in three years.
Chelsea instead kickoff their Europa League campaign later this month in a group featuring PAOK Salonika, BATE Borisov and Vidi, and Alonso said that watching the Champions League draw on Friday brought the pain of exile from Europe's elite home to him.
"When you see the [Champions League] draw on TV, the groups and your team is not there, I felt like smashing the TV set," Alonso told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. "I hope it's a lesson for us to fight this year and compete for the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League. I think last season we deserved more and it's a pity not be in the competition this season."
Chelsea have made a positive start to their bid to return to Europe's top table, winning all four of their first Premier League matches to surge to the top of the table alongside Liverpool and Watford.
Key to whether they can maintain their early momentum will be the form of Eden Hazard, who was linked with a move to Real Madrid over the summer after saying that "it might be time to discover something different" following six years at Stamford Bridge.
Alonso, however, never felt like the Belgium international would leave.
"I didn't see Hazard at Madrid," he said. "He is very happy at Chelsea. I don't know if there was an interest or not but Hazard and his family are very happy here [at Chelsea]."
Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain were both reportedly interested in signing Alonso this summer, but he insisted that he is settled in London and a transfer is not in his future plans.
"I never saw myself away from Chelsea this summer," he added. "I'm very happy there. Unless the club had wanted to sell me, my wish was and has always been to stay. The day I retire from football I will return to Spain but right now I have three years left at Chelsea and I'm very happy there."