Petrovic: We know what to expect now


Djordje Petrovic of Chelsea celebratesduring the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Everton FC at Stamford Bridge on April 15, 2024 in London, England. 

Djordje Petrovic believes the experience gained from the Carabao Cup final could be important for him and his fellow Blues when Chelsea return to Wembley for today’s FA Cup semi-final.

Some players wait their whole careers for a chance to walk out under the famous Wembley arch to represent their club. Djordje Petrovic is set to do so for the second time with Chelsea this afternoon, all in his debut season in English football.

While the first ended in disappointment for him and the Blues, as Virgil van Dijk’s goal late in extra time sentenced us to a 1-0 defeat by Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final, the keeper believes that experience will serve us well when we return to face Manchester City in FA Cup semi-finals.

He also understands the importance of the game well, being two victories away from a trophy and European qualification, in addition to the prestige and history of the FA Cup, which the Serbian is aware of from his time watching the competition from abroad.

‘A lot has happened already since I came to Chelsea,’ reflected Petrovic. ‘This is my second trip to Wembley. The first one in the final of the Carabao Cup was a big experience for me, now we already know what we can expect from this game.

‘Also we play against Manchester City, so it’s a big game, a semi-final, and I know that the FA Cup here in England is very important. It is the oldest club tournament in the world. I knew before I came here, because I watched all the English football, the Premier League and the FA Cup games.

‘I didn’t see the FA Cup from the first round, but I was watching a lot of the later rounds, and definitely the semi-finals, before I signed for Chelsea. So I heard the commentators saying about how old and important a competition it is here, but also you can feel that once you are here.

‘The FA Cup is also very important for us because if we win the trophy we will play next year in the Europa League. So it’s very important for us, but also every game is important for us in the Premier League.

‘Also for us the Carabao Cup was important for the whole team, every game for us is important and every team wants to take home a trophy and play in a final and play at Wembley. So we know what we need to do and the FA Cup is a very important trophy for us players and for the club also.’

Petrovic was just one of many Chelsea players getting their first experience of competing in a big match at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final, but following that experience it will no longer be a step into the unknown for the Blues, who now know exactly what to expect from the occasion this afternoon.

‘I think in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool we had a good game,’ he added. ‘We missed some chances and maybe we deserved to win that game, but also it was an important experience for everyone in the squad.

‘For a lot of us, it is our first season in the Premier League, and also that was our first time at Wembley, where the atmosphere was amazing with everyone enjoying the game. So now I think we know what we will expect and it is important to get the last title available to us this season.

‘In terms of the most important thing we learned from that first visit, I think maybe it was just the realisation of what we can expect from playing in this stadium and it will be nice to do it again now.’

Looking ahead to today’s match, Petrovic is pleased to go into it off the back of a confidence-boosting win over Everton on Monday evening, particularly as it included the Serbian’s first clean sheet since the goalless draw with Aston Villa in late January, also in the FA Cup.

However, he knows we face a tough challenge against Manchester City next, despite their midweek European exit in a penalty shootout.

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‘Monday was the first clean sheet after about three months, so it was a very nice win in front of our fans. 6-0 is a good result for us, it was very important for our confidence after the games against Burnley and Sheffield United when we dropped points.

‘City lost to Real Madrid so they’re out of the Champions League, but against that team you can’t expect anything because they’re one of the best teams in the world and last year they took almost every trophy. They are champions of the FA Cup and they are still first in the table in the Premier League, so we know it will be difficult.

‘But for sure it will be nice to play against Manchester City at Wembley in a semi-final and we know what we need to do.’

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