Luiz: Chelsea's duty to win Europa
Chelsea defender David Luiz has sounded a rallying call to his team-mates ahead of Thursday night's Europa League game against Steaua Bucharest by insisting they have a duty to win a trophy this season.
The reigning Champions League holders are hardly content to find themselves playing in Europe's second string competition after the defence of their European crown ended before Christmas, but Luiz suggests they can turn that setback into an opportunity for more glory.
"We want to win titles and that's how you have to think at a big club," stressed Luiz. "Last season we won the Champions League and this is another opportunity to win a big European trophy. We have to go for it.
"I don't go into a Europa League game and think 'I don't care about this'. I have never won this competition so I want to feel what it's like to win this title.
"Everyone at Chelsea knows we have to stay in the top four so we can play in the Champions League again next season and that is important, but we cannot forget that we are at this club to win titles.
"Also, we are representing the Premier League in this competition and we have to show that our league is the best in the world. We have an opportunity to prove that."
Luiz went on to suggest Chelsea will be presented with a glorious chance to beat Manchester United in Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final clash at Old Trafford, as he believes Tuesday's Champions League elimination against Real Madrid will have knocked the wind out of their sails.
"It's difficult when you have been knocked out of an amazing competition like the Champions League because your confidence is not the same after," added Luiz.
"The happiness in Manchester United's hearts will not be there and Chelsea can use this to win our game on Sunday. United will be playing at home but some players and supporters will be thinking 'it's not the Champions League' and it will be difficult for them to come in with the same form."
Meanwhile, interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez will not consider resting star names in the tie against Steaua Bucharest after insisting European glory is his priority ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United.
Benitez may well recall skipper John Terry and out of form striker Fernando Torres to his starting line-up for the last-16 tie in Romania, yet he stressed his mind has not wandered towards the looming trip to Old Trafford just yet.
"We will put a very competitive team against Steaua Bucharest on the pitch because this is our priority," he stated. "Sunday against Manchester United is something we can only think about when this game is finished because I have a responsibility to focus on every game.
"We have a lot of games to play, but we believe fatigue will not be a problem for the players so long as we do this properly. This is the way when you are a top club, playing so many matches at this stage of the season.
"You have to be prepared for that and as the manager, it is my job to look at the squad and make decisions from game to game. You cannot say the FA Cup is more important. Chelsea should look to win every game, every competition."