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Silva confident Blues can end dreadful record at Chelsea

Blues boss also spoke about the club’s academy transfer ban at Friday’s pre-match press conference

Marco Silva believes his Everton squad are well-equipped to win at Chelsea, despite their terrible record at Stamford Bridge and their opponent’s imperious recent form.

The Blues last won at the Bridge in November 1994, and in order to end this hoodoo on Sunday, they must end new manager Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten start as Chelsea boss.

Chelsea v Everton - Premier League
Ramiro Funes Mori’s stoppage-time goal looked set to end Everton’s barren run at Stamford Bridge in 2016, only for John Terry to equalise in the 98th minute
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

But while Silva is aware that Everton will be unfancied by many this weekend, he is relishing the opportunity to make a huge statement to the rest of the Premier League:

“We have confidence in our work and the way we are playing, seeing how our team is growing and getting better and getting results in the last two-and-a-half months. I accept they will be favourites but it is a big challenge for us.

“What I hope and expect is that we will be ourselves on the pitch. I want to see our team to be ourselves. They will obligate us to do different things to what we want but when we have the ball we have to be ourselves.”

Everton have won none of their away league games against the so-called ‘big six’ since a victory at Manchester United in December 2013, and Silva has already tasted defeat at Old Trafford and away to Arsenal as Blues boss.

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League
Bryan Oviedo’s winner at Old Trafford was the last time Everton won away at the ‘big six’
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

But, speaking at his pre-match press conference earlier today, he said he took heart from his side’s performances in both losses, and is encouraged ahead of an arguably even more daunting task on Sunday:

“It’s a very good challenge for us. We are improving as a team. We played two away [Arsenal and Manchester United] and challenged them. It’s our way.

“Sunday will be a tough match. Chelsea are doing well. They have great individual quality and are doing really well. It’s our goal to compete and take a good result.

“I don’t have doubts that we will improve to the end of the season. The first two away games [draws to Wolverhampton and Bournemouth] we played with 10 players and almost won.

Silva also praised Chelsea’s free-scoring forward Eden Hazard, reportedly the subject of interest from Real Madrid, who is joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League with seven goals.

Chelsea FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Eden Hazard is currently in the best form of his Chelsea career
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Blues boss knows just how dangerous a threat he will be to Everton’s chances of victory on Sunday, and when asked if he thinks the Belgian is currently the best footballer on the planet, Silva answered:

“At this moment, yes. We have to stop him as a team but you cannot look for just one player.

“He’s a really important player, he can decide a match in one minute, but Chelsea as a team will create more problems for us than just Hazard.

“He has the capacity to solve the problems but we have to work actively and show strong defensive solidarity.”

He wouldn’t be drawn into any Ross Barkley conversation when asked if he would have liked to have him on the Blues.

“You are talking about a very good player. But I am really happy to work with the players in my squad.”

Away from the pitch, Silva also gave his thoughts on the transfer ban Everton were issued with on Thursday. The club are prohibited from signing academy players for two years having been found guilty of breaching Premier League recruitment rules, and were also fined £500,000.

On the matter, Silva admitted he simply wants to move on now it has been resolved and focus on Chelsea:

“It is not a good thing. I think the club worked with the Premier League and everything is solved now.

“Our CEO [Denise Barrett-Baxendale] did hard work in this situation to solve anything. It will not happen in the future of our club. Now everything is finished, to be honest, it’s not something that will affect us in our day here.

“Our aim is to improve day-by-day our team and prepare for the next game.”