Another glorious Champions League night awaits Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host Ajax for a crucial and potentially table-deciding game in Group H on Tuesday night. Chelsea collected an impressive win in the reverse fixture thanks to a late Batshuayi winner a fortnight ago, so Ajax will surely be ready for revenge.
Mason Mount, who was key to Chelsea’s victory at the Johan Cryuff Stadium, just as he’s been key to Chelsea’s season so far, knows the importance of collecting our first points of the group stage at the Bridge as well. Chelsea’s only other home game in Europe this season was the 1-0 defeat to Valencia to start the group stage.
“We know how important it is to get results in the Champions League. After the first game, we were a bit down but we took positives from it. We knew that going away to France and Holland we needed to get results, to be professional, and we did that so hopefully now we can bring that form back to Stamford Bridge.
“There’s a different feel around the Champions League. We don’t have as many games that come around so the focus on winning the game is so important. It’s obviously the same in the Premier League but you have so few opportunities to get points in Europe because there’s so many top teams in the group.”
Mount has been one of the leading lights of Chelsea’s youth (r)evolution, but as head coach Frank Lampard has reiterated many times already, there’s more to the team than just the kids. The squad’s veteran players are just as important, and in some respects even more important as they need to contribute on and off the pitch as well.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, for example, have been earning plaudits not just for their play in the midfield pivot in the recent weeks, but for the guidance and mentality they’ve shown the younger players.
“For us young players coming into the team, we need the experienced players behind us to keep us focused and keep us going because they’re the backbone in the team. You can see how they’ve been performing recently. They’ve been keeping the team together, keeping the ball moving and that’s what we need, players like that to keep us ticking. When we get higher up the pitch, we’re the ones to put the ball in the back of the net but they keep us so strong together.”
The mix of younger and older players appears to be just right at the moment, but the transfer ban won’t last forever — it might even be lifted as early as January — and that means new players will be coming in to add even greater competition. But that’s just something the likes of Mount will have to take in stride. Competition for places is to be expected at a top like Chelsea, especially if we are to fulfill our ultimate ambitions.
For Mount, those ambitions involve major trophies, just as it has been the case at Chelsea for the last two decades.
“We’ve had to deal with competition throughout our whole time being in the Academy. You come into a team and there’s players from all different countries so you have to work to show how good you are. There’s always been that competition within Chelsea so we’re all ready for that and there’s massive competition within the team now to fight for your place.
“We want to win trophies and we want to be top of the league. We’re so tight as a team, the bond is so good and we’ve got that focus and togetherness that we need to win trophies. That’s our next goal, to win a major trophy. We just need to keep getting better and better, which is what we’ve shown over the last couple of weeks.
“If we carry on this level of performance, we can definitely be a top contender in any competition.”
- Mason Mount; source: Chelsea FC
Elite mentality! Lets win it all!