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Nathan Ake has admitted that he was disappointed not to break into Chelsea’s first-team fold last season upon his return from Bournemouth.
The Netherlands international impressed on loan during the first half of the campaign with the Cherries, leading to Antonio Conte recalling him to Stamford Bridge in January.
Ake was handed just one start in the final four months of the season, though, coming in the thrilling 4-3 win over Watford on May 14 when the title had already been sealed.
After bringing an end to his time at the Blues for good with a permanent move to the South Coast, the 22-year-old is now desperate to help consolidate Bournemouth’s place in the Premier League.
“I went back and was hoping to be playing for Chelsea, but in the end I still came back here,” he told reporters.
“You always want to play more but I know it’s difficult get into the Chelsea team. They have such a good team with many great, world class players. I knew it was going to be difficult. I thought I did OK in the games I played and felt like I grew training around those players.
“Eddie [Howe] is really passionate about the game and sometimes in training sessions people need to stop him because he likes to play for three or four hours. When I signed here on loan he was a big factor for me. The way he trains, the way he likes to play football, it’s what I like as well. I felt that last season I was improving and thought that if I go back to this manager I will improve more.
“We’ve made some good signings and the squad we already was really good. We finished ninth last season and you always want to achieve better than last season. With the signings we have we can do better than last season.”
Ake featured a total of 17 times for Chelsea during his five years in and around the senior fold.