Chelsea star Marcos Alonso has revealed that the pain of watching the UEFA Champions League draw without the Blues being a part of it made him want to 'smash his TV'.
Speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero, the former Bolton and Sunderland man has claimed that the hurt of missing out on the best club competition in the world has angered him, and will provide added motivation for the current campaign.
A chaotic few months between January and March last season saw Antonio Conte's Chelsea finish fifth. Despite winning the FA Cup, many were still concerned by the Blues' failure to qualify for the Champions League for the second time in three years.
Instead of potentially facing off against the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Chelsea will instead kick off their Europa League campaign against PAOK Salonika, BATE Borisov and Vidi when the group stages later this month.
Already hurt by his side's poor league campaign last season, Alonso claimed that witnessing the Champions League draw without Chelsea being a part of it enhanced the pain.
The 27-year-old said: "When you see the [Champions League] draw on TV, the groups and your team is not there, I felt like smashing the TV set.
🇪🇸 Marcos Alonso this season:— Uber Chelsea FC 🏆 (@UberCheIseaFC) September 1, 2018
🔵⚪️ Against Huddersfield:
1 Penalty won
🔴 Against Arsenal:
⚫️⚪️ Against Newcastle:
1 Penalty Won
🍒 Against Bournemouth:
An absolute weapon 👏 pic.twitter.com/pUWH3VYR6X
"I hope it's a lesson for us to fight this year and compete for the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League. I think last season we deserved more and it's a pity not be in the competition this season."
Contrastingly, the Blues look much better placed for a return to Europe's top competition this season under Maurizio Sarri, having won their first four Premier League games.
Interestingly, it is Sarri who Alonso has likened Spain boss Luis Enrique to, after the full-back was recalled to the national team for his excellent start to the season.
On the similarities between his bosses for both club and country, Alonso said: “Things are working well [at Chelsea]. I'm very happy. With Luis Enrique I see similar things.
“Both when you attack and when you defend, you must do everything according to the possession. The placement is fundamental.
“That is why the training sessions are similar to those of Spain: possession, exit of the ball ... These are similar concepts.”
The FA Cup winners have many key players to aid their targets for the season, but none more important than Belgium star Eden Hazard, who was strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Alonso, however, never felt that the former Lille star would depart, saying: "I didn't see Hazard at (Real) Madrid. He is very happy at Chelsea. I don't know if there was an interest or not but Hazard and his family are very happy here."
There were also rumours of Alonso himself departing west London in the summer, although he was quick to quash them, saying: "I never saw myself away from Chelsea this summer.
"I'm very happy there. Unless the club had wanted to sell me, my wish was and has always been to stay. The day I retire from football I will return to Spain but right now I have three years left at Chelsea and I'm very happy there."