Chelsea defender David Luiz has warned his team-mates not to underestimate any of their Europa League opponents.
Chelsea have won their opening five Premier League matches of the season under new manager Maurizio Sarri and will kick-off their campaign tonight against PAOK Salonika and are one of the favourites for outright glory.
However, Luiz, who did not travel to Greece because Blues boss Maurizio Sarri wanted to rest him, has told his team-mates it will not be easy to lift the trophy and secure an immediate return to the Champions League.
He said: “Many people don’t understand how hard it is to win this competition. The level is great. It’s not going to be easy to play.
It’s not going to be easy to play on a Thursday. It’s not going to be easy because of how far we have to travel but also because of the quality of the teams. I know because I have played in the Europa League more than once — I also played in it with Benfica.
“It’s not what everyone says about it [not being a good standard]. It is never easy to win a competition like this.”
The Brazilian international adamant Chelsea cannot afford to be picky on which tournament to win this season saying. “It is important to win the trophy,” said the Brazilian, who won the Europa League with the Blues in 2013. “Some talk about how winning it is a route back into the Champions League but, for me, it’s about lifting a trophy.”
Luiz added: “We have an amazing squad, everyone has the quality to play. It doesn’t matter who the 11 are on the pitch, Chelsea will always be at a great level to win games.”