Andre Schurrle happy to commit to Chelsea’s Premier League charge

German forward has dismissed any suggestion he might leave London club during the January transfer window after overcoming a long-standing illness.
Andre Schurrle, centre, Chelsea’s German striker, arrives for a training session at the at the club’s training ground, south of London. Ben Stansall / AFP
Andre Schurrle, centre, Chelsea’s German striker, arrives for a training session at the at the club’s training ground, south of London. Ben Stansall / AFP

LONDON // Andre Schurrle has dismissed any suggestion he might leave Chelsea during the January transfer window after overcoming a long-standing illness.

Schurrle first felt the effects of a virus in Brazil during Germany’s successful Fifa World Cup campaign but the winger believes he is now nearing a return to full fitness ahead of Hull’s visit to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

And after being used largely as a fringe player by Blues manager Jose Mourinho, the former Bayer Leverkusen star is keen to re-establish himself as a central figure after scoring in Wednesday’s 3-1 Uefa Champions League victory over Sporting Lisbon.

Schurrle’s pace and clinical finishing should add another dimension to Chelsea’s attack as the Premier League leaders attempt to consolidate their position at the top of the table after suffering a first defeat of the season at Newcastle last week.

“The illness has lasted weeks and weeks. Even during the World Cup my body didn’t feel that good,” Schurrle told Standard Sport.

“I don’t want to say what the medical name for the illness was but the symptoms are hard to get over.

“While they may have gone away, it took a toll on my body and it takes lot of time to get back to match fitness.

“The first weeks of the season with Chelsea were actually very good, very positive. I scored against Burnley and the following games were good, too.

“But then my body just shut down a little bit, because I was tired and maybe a little bit in my head and mind as well.

“I did not feel really well. On the pitch I tried to work harder but I needed more time.

“I’m not where I want to be but I feel better and you could see I was very motivated against Sporting.”

Restating his intention to remain at Stamford Bridge despite reports linking him with a move, Schurrle added: “Of course I can just laugh all the talk of leaving off. I am not going to change the club in the transfer window.

“I am happy where I am, I am happy in London. I love the city, I love the fans.

“We have a great team and want to win something this season. This is where I belong and where I want to help. I know what the manager wants for me and that he likes me.”

Hull travel to the Bridge without a win in their past eight matches and Steve Bruce is enduring the most challenging spell of his two-and-a-half-year tenure as manager.

Despite their poor start to the season, in which the Tigers have won just twice in the league, Bruce remains confident his team are capable of securing their highest league finish.

After winning promotion in 2013, Hull finished 16th in the Premier League last season – the highest in the club’s history.

After spending close to £40 million (Dh147m) on new players in the close-season, Bruce believes that position will be bettered.

“I’m still convinced we’ll finish higher than we did last year,” Bruce said.

“When we got up, my aim was to establish us over four or five years. You’re going to come against difficult runs. The bottom eight are separated by two or three points.

“We’re all in the same boat. You’ve got to get yourself out of it and I still think we’re better equipped than we were last year in terms of the squad.”

Hull will be without Mohamed Diame, who is recovering from a knee injury, and long-term absentee Robert Snodgrass.

Bruce is expected to pair first-choice strikers Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez for the first time since October 4, when Hull beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in their most recent victory.

Cech not leaving Chelsea either

Out-of-favour goalkeeper Petr Cech will not leave Chelsea in January and has nothing to prove ahead of his first Premier League start of the season against Hull City, manager Jose Mourinho said.

The Czech international had been Chelsea’s number one for the last 10 years before Thibaut Courtois, who returned from a loan at Atletico Madrid, took his place at the start of the season.

There has been mounting media speculation that Cech would leave Stamford Bridge during the January transfer window in search of first-team action.

Mourinho, however, wants Cech to stay and is backing the 32-year-old who regains his position in place of the injured Courtois.

“I don’t think it’s possible (that Cech will leave),” Mourinho told a news conference on Friday. “I read a couple of weeks ago his agent saying there was no chance of him leaving Chelsea in January.

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: December 12, 2014 04:00 AM

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