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Chelsea move already bearing fruit for Pedro

FOOTBALL By AFP | September 7th 2015

Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez has admitted his move from Barcelona last month will enhance his chances of playing a major role at next year's European Championships with Spain.

The 28-year-old started as the European champions took a big step towards qualification by ending Slovakia's 100 percent record in Group C with a 2-0 win on Saturday.

Pedro left Barca after a decade at the Camp Nou in which he won 20 trophies to get more playing time after falling behind the star front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

And he made an instant impact with the English champions as he scored and set up Diego Costa for another goal in Chelsea's only win of the season so far on his debut at West Bromwich Albion.

"I am happy with how my time has started at Chelsea," he said on Sunday.

"When you have more minutes you can play at a different rhythm with more confidence and a different mentality. I am sure the move will be very good for me to play both at Chelsea and with the national team."

Victory over Slovakia moved Spain back to the top of the group thanks to their better head-to-head record and was widely regarded as the best showing by Vicente del Bosque's men since their embarrassing exit at the group stages of last year's World Cup.

"The game yesterday was one of the best playing in our style," added Pedro.

"There was a lot of first-touch football and we were always looking to attack against a Slovakia side that hadn't lost a game. It is possibly our best game since the World Cup."

The one negative of the night for the hosts were the whistles directed at Gerard Pique by the home fans in Oviedo.

Barcelona defender Pique has been an outspoken supporter of the drive for Catalan independence.

And Pedro defended his old teammate, who was part of the Spain sides that won the World Cup in 2010 and European Championships two years later.

"We don't like it that a professional player who has always been committed with the team is whistled at home.

"I hope this topic is resolved quickly, we are all with him. He has always defended this shirt and the colours as he should. He has great personality and he showed that on the field."

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