Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic is set to visit Asia next month for a pre-season tour with the Premier League champions. The Blues are involved in a clash against Arsenal in Beijing, followed by matches in Singapore against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan during the July 25-29 International Champions Cup (ICC) at the National Stadium.
The Serb spoke to the Chelsea club website about preparations for their title defence.
Q How important is pre-season training in your preparation for the new season?
A It's the most important time for us as players because we want to be ready and to start the season well.
Q How do you feel about meeting up with your team-mates for pre-season training after the end of your summer holidays?
A I don't feel good because I like to have my holidays at the end of a season!
Of course, it is good to come back and to see the other players. But you know that pre-season is hard and it is the start of a long road until the end of the season.
Q Playing for Chelsea, you have the opportunity to travel to different places for pre-season. Which has been your favourite pre-season destination so far?
A My favourite pre-season place is Austria. We have been (there) twice for pre-season in 2014 and 2016 and on both occasions, we went on to become champions of England afterwards.
Q Do you enjoy the experience of meeting the club's international fans on tour?
A Yes, it is good for everybody involved. The Chinese fans are very passionate about football and we know the game is becoming more and more popular there.
Q What are your thoughts about playing against quality opponents like Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in different locations like Beijing and Singapore?
A I hope they are good matches for the supporters. Of course for us, it is not so important that we win the games because they are friendlies, but we want to put on a good performance and entertain the crowds.
Q The Chelsea squad will be spending a week in Singapore. Does it benefit the team to be spending an extended time in one city to train and play pre-season games?
A A lot of travel can be hard for the players so it is good to be in one place where you can work together and focus on training.
•Tickets for the ICC Singapore are now available at Sports Hub Tix