It may not be the last game of the group stage, but if we lose, it might as well be. That’s the attitude with which Chelsea have arrived in Spain, and with which we will hopefully take to the pitch in a few short hours at the Mestalla.
There should be no lack of motivation tonight for Chelsea players young or old, homegrown or signed from somewhere else. Our last two Heroes of 2012 departed this past summer, and while both Pedro and Mateo Kovačić have tasted Champions League glories with their previous teams, the vast majority of the current Chelsea squad have not.
Some did witness Chelsea lift the Big Ears Trophy seven years ago, and have maintained similar dreams ever since. Tammy Abraham is not ready to let that dream die yet in his first ever Champions League campaign.
“For many of us it’s a dream come true so we don’t want that dream to stop now. We want to keep going, keep pushing and keep doing the best we can.”
Of course, Valencia will be wanting just as much to win and to keep their own Champions League dreams alive.
But dreams can only take you so far. As the first game proved, the game will be much more likely decided by small margins. Ensuring those small things go in our favor is no simple task, but on it, all may depend.
“We know coming here is never going to be easy,’ said the 22-year-old. Their fans will support Valencia all the way so we have to stick together as a team. This is our biggest game of the season so far [but] we’ve all been enjoying training and focused.
“The little details cost us the [first] game but from then we’ve had to learn and develop our game in different areas. This is an important competition for us so [it] is a massive game. We just have to go out there focused and leave it all on the pitch.
“It’s just time for work now. Once you’re on the pitch and you hear the music you just have to be focused. You have to let that childhood dream go for a minute and just focus on the game.”
Despite his excellent scoring record in the Premier League, Abraham is stuck on just one Champions League strike, against Lille back nearly two months ago. Today would be a most perfect time for a second, or third, or even fourth one!
“You have to improve. In my spare time, I go on YouTube and watch the best strikers in the world playing in this competition. For me it’s just about stealing their ideas and adding them to my game. I’ve watched many — Harry Kane, Sergio Agüero, Roberto Firmino, Robert Lewandowski.
“I’ve grown up with this mentality where I always want to win. I’m a bubbly character in training and games and for me it’s just about getting the three points. If I can top that off with a goal then it’s a bigger achievement for me as well.
“Playing against great teams we know there’s going to be less chances in games and that’s something I have to be ready for. When that chance comes, I have to try to grab it with two hands.
“Every team in the Premier League or the Champions League is a good side so scoring goals against anyone, I’ll celebrate that like it’s the World Cup final!”
-Tammy Abraham; source: Chelsea FC
We’re ready to celebrate as well!