YOUTH CUP PREVIEW: SEEING IT THROUGH
Following on from the first team's Wembley success at the weekend, our Under 18s will be hopeful of emulating them and lifting the FA Youth Cup tomorrow (Wednesday) night. It is a game that be seen live on Chelsea TV.
The young Blues head to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers with a 4-0 advantage from the first leg, but ahead of the second leg, defender Alex Davey has warned that, with such an advantage, comes some difficult decisions.
The young centre-back has enjoyed an impressive second half of the season, after the first was hampered by a combination of inconsistency and injuries. With a maturity way beyond his tender years, however, he spoke of the dangers facing the side as they look to emerge from the north-west as cup winners.
'We can't sit back and get too comfortable, we have to carry it through and approach the game with the same mental attitude as we did the first leg. We need to play as if it's still 0-0 and we need to win the game,' he tells the official Chelsea website.
'We've handled all the experiences so far, and it's made us stronger as a team. We know a game's never over until the final whistle blows but we've shown tremendous character throughout the campaign.'
If Adi Viveash's side do go on to lift the trophy, it will be a second success in the competition in the space of three years, following our 2010 victory in the final against Aston Villa.
In terms of youth football, there is currently no bigger stage than this tournament, and Davey, as he admits, is fully aware of just how significant a victory will be, not just for him personally, but for the team as a whole.
'As a player, at youth level it's the best achievement you can have. From a team perspective, it's something which I believe can lift us and take us on to the next level,' he says.
'I started slowly this season, and then just as I started to find some consistency I went down with an injury. I got my chance in the Youth Cup and I feel like I've taken it well, so the season's hopefully going to end on a good note. I feel as though I've been given the confidence to go out and improve which is good.'
The tall, uncompromising 17-year-old is technically sound, reads the game intelligently and possesses the ability to pass the ball well over both short and long distances.
His performances of late alongside the Dutchman Nathan Ake at the heart of the Blues' defence have been impressive, particularly over the course of the two-legged semi-final against Manchester United, and the duo's stability provides a solid base for the more creative players in the side such as Lucas Piazon and John Swift to pull the strings further forward.
The fact Davey has also made the step up and featured for the reserves on three separate occasions speaks volumes, and he admits that after downing tools for a short while at the end of what he hopes will be a trophy-winning campaign, his focus will quickly revert back to his long-term development within the game.
'The reserves is a completely different level; the tempo, speed, strength, it's all challenging, but it's a great experience for me to go and play with them,' says Davey.
'You definitely notice the difference from playing against better players, with their sharpness and vision. Sometimes in their attitude as well, whether or not they're prepared to fight or if they don't really care, that's when you know whether or not you can rattle them.
'After the season I'll switch off for a couple of weeks, but come back fighting to earn my place in the youth team and try to push on to the reserve league which is the main thing for me. I feel that's where I need to be in order to become a better player.'
Chelsea TV's coverage on Wednesday begins at 6.30pm.
Kick-off is 7pm and tickets will be available for supporters to purchase on the night at Ewood Park.Ticket prices are £5 adults and £3 concessions.The Jack Walker Stand lower tier will be open.