Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta is certainly not alone in expecting young players to play an important role at Chelsea this season, and so far this preseason, we’ve not seen anything that would or should dissuade us of that notion.
In fact, Mason Mount has been one of the most consistently willing and excellent performers, while Tammy Abraham broke his preseason duck yesterday against Barcelona and is now confident he can break the Curse of The No.9 Shirt, even.
“They are two very talented players who had a great path in our Academy. They had great spells on loan last season. The next step is to perform well in the first team at Chelsea. They are Chelsea boys, they dream of having the opportunity in the first team, and hopefully they can keep working the way they have been doing since they came for the first training session.
“A goal is very important for Tammy. He worked very hard for the team but to score gives that boost to the strikers. With Mason’s work-rate and his passing ability, the only way he can go is forward. I am sure they will both be very important for us.”
Abraham has every chance to win the starter’s job over Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi, while Lampard already knows Mason Mount quite well from last season, when the 20-year-old played a key role in their (ultimately unsuccessful) regular season and promotion playoffs campaigns.
The final decision will of course rest with head coach Frank Lampard, who’s so far making good progress in trying to change the style of the team to a much more aggressive, up-tempo, direct style from last season. Against Barcelona, Chelsea showed glimpses of quality in both the high press and deep defending; now we just have to work on doing those consistently and effectively.
“Even if it’s pre-season you don’t want to lose. The last game we didn’t get the result, we conceded a late goal even if the performance was good.
“There were tough conditions on this trip and with the training sessions but we deserved to win against Barcelona. We played well. We wanted to finish this trip on a high. We have been working hard but obviously you want to win games, and this was a good step forward for the last two weeks before the season starts.
“We can see the signs of the work we have been doing, Since the beginning we have been working very hard with great intensity in every training session. Every time you start with a new manager you start from zero, and we try to improve every day. That’s what we work for: to improve as a team and as individuals. Hopefully we can prepare well in the last three friendly games before our Premier League season starts.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea have essentially two weeks and three friendlies remaining to get ready for the season, which isn’t wasting any time in posing some massive challenges, including Old Trafford away on day one.
But after such a confidence-boosting win over Barcelona, what do we have to fear?