There is no denying that Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Ajax for the Champions League last night was more than a good result for our intentions in the European competition. For those within the team, it is clear that this victory serves as vindication for the good work done by a young manager commanding several youngsters towards greatness.
This should not count out the influence of veterans who have been key in our efforts thus far. Captain César Azpilicueta, who put on a lot of work in his 350th (!!!) Chelsea appearance to contain Quincy Promes, Dusan Tadic and all other Ajax players who wanted to cause chaos, was all smiles after seeing what he and his team were able to achieve in Amsterdam.
“It is a massive result for us. We needed to come [to Amsterdam] and get points, and we got what we wanted and we had to work until the end.”
The game was not easy for us, as one would expect from a trip to the home turf of a CL semifinalist. At the beginning of the match, it seemed as if we were meeting our Dutch counterparts since Ajax were trying their utmost to pin Chelsea against our defensive third.
Even then we were able to get good counters, and better chances than the hosts. Then came the second half, where Frank’s adjustments and the introduction of Christian Pulisic and Michy Batshuayi to the pitch made the difference.
“We knew Ajax are a team with a lot of energy, very dynamic. They were playing the ball quick with a lot of rotation.
“They have dangerous attacking players so we knew we had to be ready and in the beginning we struggled a little bit to deal with the pressure and to keep the ball, even though we had a couple of good chances, good counters.
“From that point in the game we were getting the ball quicker and our wingers were very quick to press high up the pitch. They did an amazing job and it was very important the midfielders played with high intensity.
“We were brave and we are very happy to get a late goal and a very important one from Michy.”
And this is just the beginning of what has been a rather eventful season for Chelsea. The hard work never stops, as we already have another battle this weekend against Burnley at Turf Moor for the Premier League.
“We are in good form, we are winning games. It is true we did not start the competition the way we wanted but we knew we were improving as a team and that we had to work hard.
“It is a long season and we are still in October. Even if we got the three points on Wednesday night there is nothing done, we have to play Ajax at Stamford Bridge, we have three games to play in the group stage and we have to keep working because at the moment we haven’t achieved anything.
“Now we have three days until we play again, against Burnley. We know what it means to play every three days at the top level, we have to be ready for every single game. We expect a tough game against Burnley and we have to be ready to get the three points.”
-César Azpilicueta; Source: Chelsea FC