Nemanja Matic is looking forward to playing under new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte this season and is targeting a successful campaign.
Matic, like the majority of the Chelsea squad, struggled for form under Jose Mourinho last season and he found himself out of favour when Guus Hiddink took temporary charge at Stamford Bridge.
The Serbia international had been linked with a summer exit, with Serie A champions and Conte’s former club Juventus said to be keen, but the new Chelsea boss has stressed Matic has a big role to play next season.
The public backing from the manager has boosted Matic’s confidence, and he expects a return towards the top of the Premier League table under the Italian’s guidance.
He told Standard Sport: “What he said gave me a special feeling. Like every player here, I have a good relationship with the manager. I respect what he said about me and, of course, I liked what I heard.
“It was a strange year for all of us last season. Of course, I was not happy that we finished 10th in the table but there were many things that made it hard for me, yet I can’t speak about it.
“So it was important for me to know that I am a big part of his plans. I have been at the club for two-and-a-half years and have always given my best every day. Until I’m here, I will continue to give everything to the team.”
He added: “We have worked together for two weeks and I can already see that he is a great manager, with a great team of coaches. I’m sure this team will improve with him.”