If the best thing to have happened to Mason Mount’s career (outside of his own control) was the appointment of Frank Lampard as Chelsea head coach, as the narrative goes, then surely the second best thing to have happened to Mason Mount’s career (outside of his own control) was the sacking of Frank Lampard as Chelsea head coach. Not because of any tactical or player development issues, but purely so that Mount could quickly remove himself from said narrative and prove his qualities without the constant (obviously misplaced) suggestions of some sort of pseudo-nepotism on Lampard’s part.
(England manager Gareth Southgate hinted at just as much recently as well, though we’d prefer if he relied a bit less on Mount, especially in meaningless or lopsided national team games, especially when there are questions regarding his fitness levels and we have crucial games coming up every three days, but I digress.)
If anything, the 22-year-old has become an even more crucial part of the team since Thomas Tuchel took over. The new head coach’s defensive record might parallel Mourinho Mk.I’s (outside of the 5-2 silliness on Saturday), but it’s Mourinho Mk.II whom he’s more close emulating in his usage of and reliance on Mount. The
Special Happy One attempted to build his team around Oscar. Tuchel’s doing pretty much that with Mount.
Maybe that’s reaching a bit and looking for patterns where none exist. But either way, Mount, who’s been the team’s leading goalscorer since Tuchel took over, scoring 5 of our 21 goals in total, just keeps going from strength to strength. Last night’s opening goal was a moment of real quality in a first-half largely devoid of them, with the youngster exhibiting yet another perfect turn on the ball — they could teach these in schools — and producing a precise finish into the bottom corner at the far post.
For the youngster — because he’s still just a youngster, let’s not forget, at two months past his 22nd birthday — it was a reward for hours spent on the training ground as well as for the mentality shown by the team after the weekend’s shock defeat.
“I’m always working on [finishing]. I don’t think you can work on it enough. I think I can improve on it and score more goals.”
“After the West Brom game we put it behind us. We looked briefly at it the next day and moved on. We came into this game with full focus, 100% commitment that we’d win. The job’s not done. They’ll fight for the next leg and we’ll have to give it our all. We’ll be ready.”
-Mason Mount; source: BT Sport via BBC
It was Mount’s first ever Champions League goal. Hopefully the first of many more in Chelsea Blue. And if we know one thing about young Mason, it’s that he’ll always want more.
22 - Mason Mount has become @ChelseaFC's youngest ever goalscorer in a UEFA Champions League knockout match (22y 87d). His goal was from the Blues' first shot of the evening. Emergence. pic.twitter.com/9Ejz4sr2Is— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 7, 2021
For Tuchel, that’s just one of the many qualities that the Chelsea Academy star shows day in and day out, both on the training ground and in matches as well. And did I mention he’s just 22?
“The finishing was clinical and the finish was excellent from Mason. He has the quality to do this and to do it in a quarter-final is a big step for him and a big help for the team. I am very happy about [it].”
“I can only repeat that he has the right mentality and attitude towards training and games. He has the right attitude towards success. He has both feet on the ground, is open and hungry to learn. [...] Mason is an important and key player for us and I am happy he fits into this role at a young age. It is good to have him.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
So good, indeed.