Marcos Alonso insists he came to Chelsea to try to become the best left-back in the world.
Chelsea have won the first five matches of the Premier League season and the Spanish full-back has played every minute of those victories, scoring one goal and recording five assists already.
His performances have prompted new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri to describe him as the best left-back in Europe – and Alonso insists he is not afraid to push himself forward for that accolade.
“That’s why I came to Chelsea,” he said in an exclusive interview with Soccer Saturday.
“When you come to one of the top teams in the world with some great players, you can fight for that spot and that’s what I try to do.
“I want to keep improving and to work hard to be one of the best.
“I want to score more goals, I want to give more assists, I want to do more tackles.
“Everything I can do to help this team is good for the team and good for myself.”
Victories over Huddersfield, Arsenal, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Cardiff put Chelsea top of the Premier League table on goal difference from Liverpool ahead of the weekend clash with West Ham – live on Sky Sports.
And Alonso feels he is in some of the best form of his career.
“I feel good,” he said. “I’m enjoying the new manager, I’m enjoying my team-mates, I’m happy here at Chelsea
“I’m obviously still hungry for more. It’s going to be a tough season, lots of teams are fighting for everything but I want to win all the titles we are playing for.
“For that we have to work hard and I have to be ready for tough times.
“It’s never easy to get the points at the beginning of the season and even more with a new manager. We are still on our way to where we want to get.
“I think we are doing well and getting points but we still have to improve and we still have to play better. If we do this we will be up there fighting for every title.”
Alosno broke through at Real Madrid as a teenager before moving to Bolton in 2010 and he had a loan spell at Sunderland in 2014 before impressing at Italian club Fiorentina.
Antonio Conte signed him for Chelsea two years ago, but he insists his experiences at the bottom end of the Premier League helped to make him a better player.
“They were all very important stages in my career,” he said. “Before Bolton I played for Real Madrid and I was getting involved in the first-team training since I was 16 and then I played with the first team at 18.
“Bolton was another important stage for me. I learned a lot, even if I didn’t fight for any titles. We were not too close, only one semi-final of the FA Cup and then I went to Sunderland for only four or five months and we fought relegation.
“At the end of the day we did a very good second half and we played in the final of the (2016 League) Cup.
“That was all very important for me to be the footballer I am today. You learn more when it’s hard than when it’s easy.
“I’m very happy about my career, and I’m proud of having played in Bolton and Sunderland. Still today I follow them and want what’s best for them.
“That makes you enjoy the good moments even more and fight to keep playing for a good team and keep playing for titles and not fighting for relegation.
“It was perfect for me to improve as a player and to learn. I’m very happy with my career.”
Sunday sees Alonso come up against new West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini – a coach who helped develop him in his early days at Real Madrid.
And he could not hide his admiration for the Chilean.
He said: “I spent almost a year with him training with the first team and playing with Castilla. I have great memories from that time.
“I saw him the other day around London and I spoke with him. He’s a great man and a great manager.”