Tammy Abraham turned 22 years old yesterday, and he celebrated in proper style with a goal for Chelsea on the biggest stage in club football, the Champions League. It was yet another feel-good night in Chelsea’s youth revolution, complete with solid performance (other than set piece defending) and three points against Lille to get our European campaign back on track.
Long after the final whistle, the young man was still buzzing, as the kids say, and he could hardly contain himself in the post-match interview with Chelsea TV.
“Fantastic birthday. What a way to celebrate! A goal, three points — it’s massive! We knew we had to win today. That was the performance we needed.”
Beforehand, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard had played down the importance of the game, but it still felt like a must-win. Lampard’s tactical changes and substitutions made that clear as well, pushing for the win in the second half instead of settling for just a share of the spoils.
And of course it was once again done with a core of homegrown youth all playing big roles, many of whom were just starting to prove themselves at a much lower level this time last year. That journey has not been lost on Abraham, who assures that they’re all still just getting started.
“Before the game, me, Fikayo, Mason, and Reece were saying how last season we were all in the Championship — Reece was saying how he was fighting for relegation! — and now we’re in the Champions League, which has always been a dream to me. I said that to the gaffer before the game, too, and to get that first goal ... incredible! All the emotions running through my body then, and still now!
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. And it’s just the start! We always believed that one day we could all be in the first-team. We dreamt it, and we made it happen! Give credit to the boys, the manager, the staff — they’ve given us the opportunity. [And] it’s just the beginning, as I said, we have to keep working and I think we’ll get better and better!”
It’s now three wins in a row for Frankie’s Fledglings, and a chance to make it four before the next international break coming up this weekend. Two months ago, the only four we saw was the on the scoreboard at Old Trafford, and not next to Chelsea’s name.
“We always knew, from the first game against Man United, even though it wasn’t a [good] result. We took the positives out of it, we moved on, and we’re just getting stronger and stronger as the season gets on. Hopefully we can get more wins and be right up there.”
-Tammy Abraham; source: Chelsea TV