x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Chelsea's next target: the double-double

There is much to admire about this current Chelsea side, in particular their desire to keep winning trophies.

Chelsea players react to fans' cheers during their victory bus parade in London yesterday.
Chelsea players react to fans' cheers during their victory bus parade in London yesterday.

LONDON // There is much to admire about this current Chelsea side, in particular their desire to keep winning trophies. Having claimed a place in history by beating Portsmouth to add the FA Cup to their Premier League title, the message emanating from the dressing room on Saturday was to repeat the feat next season - and add the Carling Cup and Champions League too.

A double in successive seasons will be unprecedented, as would a quadruple. But Chelsea's confidence is understandably high after becoming only the seventh team to achieve the double in English football. John Terry, a proud captain, said: "The double really does put us up there as a football club; there is no doubt about it. "Everybody knows the importance of the Champions League. It is something we want, but if you had offered me the double at the start of the season, I would have bitten your hand off. It is hard to set new targets, but the minimum next year now is the Premier League and the FA Cup.

"If we can add the Champions League to that and the Carling Cup, it would be great. "But the minimum is the league and the FA Cup. Everyone is saying that, including the manager [Carlo Ancelotti]. These are our trophies and we want to keep them. We want that feeling again. "With the Champions League here [at Wembley], that would be a great way to end next year as well." He added: "I think we have the mentality to do that. It is strange. When we started so well at the start of the season there was no talk of players being too old or past their best.

"Suddenly we hit a bad patch and people questioned the age of the squad. Year after year, players are going to get older. "We are confident in our own ability and have a lot of players in their prime. They have got a lot of experience, which showed in the second half of the season." Terry's own performances were questioned after revelations about his personal life. Petr Cech, the goalkeeper, was another who came under fire as Chelsea looked vulnerable from set pieces. But he was crucial to their Wembley win, blocking Kevin-Prince Boateng's penalty before Didier Drogba scored the winner.

Cech said: "I got some criticism, but I was always calm in my own head. There were so many unlucky situations and I was always the one to get the blame, but that happens sometimes. It does get harder each season, but that makes it all the sweeter when you win. "This is a great team which has done an historic double, but you want to get stronger next season and defend the league and the FA Cup." To help keep them on top, Terry said Chelsea needed to add more quality to their squad.

Fernando Torres, the Liverpool striker, his Spain teammate David Villa and Kaka, Real Madrid's Brazilian playmaker, have been linked to Stamford Bridge in the UK press. After last year's cup final win against Everton, Terry urged Chelsea to bring in players of that calibre. But he added: "I am definitely not going to get caught up in that again, naming names. "We are linked with a lot of players because we are a big club. The bottom half of the Premier League have closed the gap on the big four and I think it is time for all of us to go out and spend.

"When I signed my [new] contract last year I stressed the importance of Didier and Lamps [Frank Lampard] staying. "It is really important once again. Didier has shown once again how important he is." akhan@thenational.ae