Lewis Dunk is confident we can find another gear this season as we embark on our first campaign in European competition.
The skipper led his team to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season, guaranteeing us a group stage spot in the upcoming campaign’s Europa League.
The summer break gave Lewis the chance to reflect on the club’s achievement.
“I was on holiday thinking a lot about what we’ve achieved and how it will go down in the history of this club. When I first joined and was coming up to the first team, did I think this club would be in Europe? Probably not. To achieve European football as captain, I’ve never been prouder. It’s exciting times, hopefully we can do ourselves justice in Europe, as well as in the league and cups.
“To actually sit back and realise what we had achieved was an incredible feeling. Walking out in a Europa League game for the first time might bring some emotions out of me, once we’ve seen the draw it’ll become a reality. It’s just an immense pride that we achieved it together.
“Hearing that music is going to be an incredible feeling, it will be a real feeling that this club is in Europe and I don’t think any fan or anyone involved in the club thought it would ever happen.”
Now the focus switches to preparations for Europe and the upcoming Premier League season.
That begins with our involvement in the Premier League’s Summer Series in the USA, as Roberto De Zerbi takes his first full pre-season with his squad since his appointment in September last year.
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De Zerbi’s team played some of the most exciting football in the league last season, but Dunk is certain there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“From the outside it seems complicated and when we were first learning the different patterns and style it certainly felt that way!
“But once you get to grips with it, it becomes second nature, you know where to be and at what time when you’re on the pitch.
“For the new players it’s going to be a transition for them, something we’ve all been through, but now we’re here to help them. We’ve not unlocked all this manager’s potential yet, we’re not in top gear, we’ve got a lot of improvement to make.”