Conor Gallagher had featured in six of the seven under Graham Potter prior to yesterday’s match, including all three previous group stage games, but last night was his first ever start in the Champions League.
And he certainly helped make it a memorable occasion, making key contributions on and off the ball as part of a three-man midfield in a bold 3-5-2/3-3-4 setup, just as we would expect. The 22-year-old reflected afterwards on the pride he felt at making his full European debut, as well as the good vibes from Chelsea getting back into the win column, at times with some of the best football we’ve seen in a while.
“That was a great night for us and we’re really happy to get through. It was a tough game, as we knew it would be but everyone stuck to their tasks, we gave our all and to get the three points at a place like this is massive for us. We’re just so happy to qualify.”
“[And] it was a proud moment for me to make my first start in the Champions League and I just wanted to give a good account of myself. I wanted to put in a good performance and help the team get the win, so I’m really pleased with how it went.
“We’re taking things game by game, each match is important and we’ve got a lot of them. Everybody just needs to be ready, which we are and hopefully we can carry on the form that we are in.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: Chelsea FC
And, as it turned soon after this interview with AC Milan handily beating Dinamo Zagreb in the late game, 4-0, we’ve in fact locked up top position in the group, making next week’s game a pressure-free exercise in fitness and rotation. A great night, indeed!