A squad depleted by injuries and/or COVID-19 infections forced Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel into handing some very early professional debuts to a trio of academy players in our League Cup quarter-final encounter with Brentford. Despite facing a Premier League side known for its tenacity when playing with home advantage, young attackers Harvey Vale and Jude Soonsup-Bell, as well as defender Xavier Simons, were great complements to the veterans that featured in the match.
While the 2-0 win was achieved thanks to the effort of veterans substitutes in N’Golo Kanté, Reece James, Christian Pulisic and Jorginho, the young’uns’ efforts should not be forgotten. Especially in light of their work to get in proper shape with only a couple of days ahead of the game, with Marcos Alonso deservedly praising their efforts on and off the pitch.
“Everyone, even at 17- or 18-years-old played a great game, it’s credit to everyone.
“I think they were on holidays two days ago. They came for a couple days of training and we saw the quality they have in this match. It is not easy to go here.
“They have come to train with us sometimes. We see them and we follow them and I’m happy for them to make their debut. Hopefully they keep improving.”
Even though Brentford had home advantage, those following the game only on audio could have been fooled into believing the match was held at Stamford Bridge given how loud Chelsea fans were throughout the 90 minutes of play. Praise from Alonso was also directed at them, for building a great atmosphere that pushed the team towards a late win and a semi-final berth.
“It was a very good game from everyone. It is difficult at this time, with so many games and with COVID and everything, but there was an amazing atmosphere from the away fans parked in the corner, we had a very good performance and a good win and off to the next round.”
Chelsea will now face Tottenham in the next round of the League Cup, putting them against former manager Antonio Conte in two legs. If we stick a two-legged format in light of COVID-19, this means we will face Conte’s side three times in January, as we will also face Tottenham on January 23rd at Stamford Bridge.
While January’s scheduling is not as bad as December’s — with “only” six matches instead of nine — it will not be easy keeping ourselves alive in so many title battles. But we will do our best to keep the fight going, step by step.
“We are alive in every competition, and we go for it step by step one at a time. Let’s see.”
-Marcos Alonso; Source: Chelsea FC