Sport Soccer

Thursday 19 July 2018

Falcao: Premier League is demanding

Radamel Falcao struggled to get to grips with the Premier League at Manchester United
Radamel Falcao struggled to get to grips with the Premier League at Manchester United

Radamel Falcao has spoken of the challenges of playing in the Premier League as he bids to prove himself at Chelsea following his disappointing stint with Manchester United.

The Colombia striker joined champions Chelsea on a season-long loan from Monaco despite failing to fire in a similar deal at Old Trafford, where he netted only four goals in 29 appearances.

Chelsea captain John Terry and manager Jose Mourinho have already spoken of their faith in Falcao, who could play in Saturday's opener with Swansea as doubts remain over the strength of Diego Costa's fragile hamstrings.

"It's a lot more physical here than anywhere else in Europe," Falcao said on

"It's a very, very competitive league where each team gives absolutely everything they've got in every game they play.

"It demands 100 per cent of your ability and focus because it is very competitive, very physical and tactical too.

"Maybe the football philosophy is a little different here in that it is always about getting the ball forward and there is less time when teams are just trying to control the ball and take the heat out of the game.

"Once you get to know your team-mates, you all know when it is the right time to put your foot on the ball and take the heat out of the game and when it is the right time to go forward, all out."

Falcao believes he knows his team-mates well following Chelsea's pre-season tour to the United States.

He added: "It helped to go away on tour with my new team-mates.

"The atmosphere in the squad here is very good, they are very friendly with me and everybody gave me a big welcome."

Mourinho is confident in his strike-force, despite the continuing doubts over Costa.

The Blues boss has other areas for concern and appears to be considering fielding prodigious youngster Bertrand Traore at left-back due to his lack of defensive options.

Traore, a 19-year-old Burkino Faso international, is more often a forward but played on the left side of defence in Wednesday night's friendly loss to Fiorentina at Stamford Bridge.

Traore told Chelsea TV: "I didn't mind about the position. I just tried my best.

"I play as a winger. Sometimes I can be in this position (left-back), even in training. It was a little bit different."

Cesar Azpilicueta, naturally a right-back, is Mourinho's only regular left-back among his five first-team defenders after the departure of Filipe Luis.

Centre-back Kurt Zouma came on for the Spaniard in last Sunday's Community Shield loss to Arsenal and is another option.

Mourinho has spoken of his desire to add to his defensive options before Saturday's Premier League season-opener with Swansea, but insists his focus is not on the transfer window.

Traore impressed Mourinho on trial during the July 2013 tour to Asia and signed for Chelsea in January 2014.

He has spent 18 months on loan at Vitesse Arnhem before Chelsea earned a work permit this summer.

Another Chelsea youngster moved to Holland on Thursday, with Todd Kane joining NEC Nijmegen on a season-long loan.

Press Association

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