For just the second time all season, Mason Mount did not feature for Chelsea on Tuesday, as the Blues beat Norwich City, 1-0. Clearly, the day off, his first in 40 (FORTY!) games dating back to late September (30 starts), did wonders, as the 21-year-old was at his very best last night in the FA Cup semifinal.
He may have gotten a bit lucky with his goal, but his 90+ minutes of constant ... everything (running, pressing, creating, etc) ... was a sight to behold and something that Manchester United were entirely unable to deal with. While just about every Chelsea player played well — yes, even Jorginho! — Mount was leading the way just as he and Frank Lampard have been intending for the past two years, at both Derby County and Chelsea.
Following the 3-1 win that booked Chelsea’s place in the FA Cup final, the head coach was full of praise for his young charge, and setting the stage for even better things to come.
“I think with Mason, that is the big thing with him this year. He has got huge talent on the ball, I am never going to underscore that.
“There is an improvement which can be made with him. He wants to be a top player so much, the final pass and the amount of goals he can score in a season, they are going to come.
“He is young, this is his first season in Premier League football. His work ethic off the ball is huge. Sometimes it can go amiss and people can skate across that, when you see a performance where you need work ethic off the ball and he leads from the front with his age, boundless energy and commitment, it’s a massive thing for me with the way that I want to play and the team I have picked.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
The term was “non-luxury” No.10 earlier in the season when Mount talked about how he wanted to influence games, and deployed in the Conte-esque 3-4-3 that utilizes two non-luxury No.10s (Willian the other, also playing well), the performance indeed warranted those aims and ambitions.
Even his goal had plenty of intent behind it, luck or no luck, as Lampard also revealed afterwards. Lampard often made his own luck with his long shots, all the way to becoming Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer, so he probably knows a thing or two about such things. Can’t score if you don’t shoot, after all, as Wayne Gretzky (and Michael Scott) would tell you.
“I know people will always hone in on goalkeepers when they make those errors because they’re critical of them. But all I did say to Mason [Mount] at half-time is that I want to see him strike through balls more.
“He had a shot in the first-half he tried to whip or bend it, and for me when you’re outside the box against top keepers, and De Gea is a top keeper, you have to strike through them. Of course he didn’t catch it brilliantly and it goes in, probably down as a mistake but it’s more that my job is to worry about my players.
“With Mason I just wanted him to shoot more. ‘Fortunately three minutes after I said it, he did score.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Metro
It’s tough to imagine Lampard’s Chelsea without Mason Mount just as it is easy to forget that this is the young man’s first ever Premier League season. He’s just 21, the third youngest first-team regular after Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Mount’s next appearance will be his 50th for Chelsea. The way he’s going, in ten years, we’ll be celebrating his 500th.