Things are running pretty smoothly at Chelsea in recent weeks as the Blues notched their 5th win in a row in all competitions on Saturday that saw Chelsea move up to 4th place in the Premier League table, two points clear off Arsenal.
The Champions League Group H table, though, doesn’t paint an ideal picture with Chelsea placed 3rd beind Ajax and Valencia with the toughest game of the group to be played tomorrow night at the Johan Cryuff stadium. Lampard’s men have their work cut out. Central(literally) to Chelsea’s chances of bagging all 3 points will be young Chelsea defender, Fikayo Tomori, who has steadily broken into the first team on the back of several impressive performances.
Tomori talks about the game at hand and how Chelsea would have to navigate through the challenges that would be thrown by the talented Ajax team.
“It will be a very tight one. Both teams are in good form and it’s a big game in the group. Ajax is a great club with big history, a great stadium, so we’re expecting a tough game.
“Games like these are where we can learn a lot but every game as a team we’re learning and every game throws up different challenges. So far, we’ve handled them well so hopefully tomorrow we can do the same.
“We’re a young team and we always talk about playing in the Champions League because these are the kind of big, high-pressure games we want to be playing in. We’re relishing it and hope tomorrow we can go out there and put on a performance and put ourselves in a good position for the next round of the group games.”
Tomori’s rise to the top of the Centre back pecking order has been a pleasant surprise to witness this season especialy after it seemed like David Luiz’ departure just days before the season opener would prove to be problematic at least in the short term.
Turns out Lampard judged the situation carefully and Chelsea look to have a huge prospect in their hands who is benefiting the team not only presently but also potentially in future. Occasional mistakes keep creeping in the performances but it is nothing that can’t be ironed out on the training ground and through playing regularly in competitive games. Lampard’s trust in the young players has proven to be the biggest catalyst of Chelsea’s youth revolution this season.
“Coming into the season, I wanted to stamp my place in the team and the manager gave me an opportunity.”
‘“He’s carried on giving me opportunities. Even if I make mistakes or I’m not quite in the right position, he helps me out and he’s developed me a lot. He talks to me in training, so do the other players, and that helps me.
“This season has been good for me so far. It’s gone better than I probably expected it would go but I’m working hard day-in, day-out trying to improve and help the team as much as I can. Getting the senior international call-up last month was great and now I just want to keep on going.”
As Lampard has reiterated ad nauseaum, the young players aren’t the be all and end all at the club. The senior players namely Jorginho and Willian have been name dropped regularly for the youngsters to look up to and follow. A good mix of veterans and youth is the recipe of success.
Tomori acknowledges the influence of the senior players on the young ones that have resulted in some impressive performances from them which in turn has seen Chelsea improve every passing week.
“For many of us, this is our first season in the Champions League and the whole team has been guiding us through games and training sessions. It’s been a good start for us, integrating the younger players with the more experienced players, and I think that we’re just going to get stronger.
“Someone like Willian, who has played at the highest level not only in club football but internationally as well, is a big help. Having that sort of experience is vital for the team. He not only talks to us off the pitch but on the pitch he plays by example and shows what we need to do to get to the level he’s been at.”
- Fikayo Tomori; source: Chelsea FC
Let the youth and veterans light up tomorrow night at Ajax!