YOUTH CUP REACTION: A TEAM EFFORT
With two FA Youth Cup wins in the past three seasons and a semi-final in between, plus another appearance in the final in 2008, the Academy have every right to be pleased with their work.
Youth team manager Adi Viveash is in his first season in the job having previously worked as our Under 16s coach, although he also assisted Dermot Drummy during the 2010 success.
Last night he watched this year's crop of Under 18s lift the trophy following a 4-1 aggregate win. The young Blues were already four goals to the good from the home leg and endured a test of nerve after conceding in the first-half at Ewood Park, but as they had done all the way to final, they showed the character necessary when asked to deal with a set-back.
'It was a very tough game,' acknowledges Viveash, speaking to the official Chelsea website.
'Blackburn really tried to impose themselves early in the game and they got the goal which their play deserved at that time.
'We looked a bit nervy but it is understandable with young boys and to be so far ahead after the first leg is a strange feeling. You can warn players all you like and we did that and worked on things.
'After Blackburn got the goal we had our best 10-minute spell of the first-half. I would have taken being level at half-time but being a goal down is a dangerous score.
'We could have passed the ball better, that is what I was disappointed with. Uncharacteristically we gave it away a lot but second-half, the boys showed the fight, determination and character that we have seen in other rounds.'
Chelsea had to overcome injuries during the match that forced winger Amin Affane of in the first half and centre-back Archange Nkumu off after the interval.
'We had used all three subs and we still had 35 minutes left,' notes Viveash, 'and it was a tough situation because Toddy Kane was feeling his leg a little and substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek went down and he has been out a long time with injury, but they managed to get through.
'Ali Gordon was selected ahead of Adam Nditi as a more defensive left-back and he gave his all but had a difficult time against the right winger so we changed it at half-time. Adam did his job second-half. With Alex Kiwomya's pace on one side and Adam coming on it meant that we could stretch the play both ways.
'When Blackburn stuck their big captain up front towards the end, John Swift came to the fore and he ran his legs off and Lucas Piazon ran his legs off even though his game is more about the skill element. Alex Davey in central defence was outstanding, I thought he was the best player on the pitch.
'The football wasn't produced like it was at Old Trafford in the semi-final and at times in the first leg against Blackburn, but the lads saw the job through. I am disappointed we lost the game if I am honest as we created enough chances to have got something out of it, but I can't be disappointed with the players because they are FA Youth Cup winners and deservedly so.'
Nathaniel Chalobah (pictured below) was the captain of this season's Youth Cup side, not for the first time showing versatility in playing in midfield and in central defence during the course of the game at Ewood Park.
'I watched Conor Clifford lift the trophy two years ago and that really motivated me to try to lift it myself,' the 17-year-old says.
'This is a moment we have been looking forward to for the whole season and it is an incredible feeling.
'The wet weather played a big part in the game,' he adds. 'Adi had told us that Blackburn were going to come at us so we knew what to expect. We had done the damage at home but we needed to make sure complacency hadn't kicked in and I think we were solid.
'Everyone has played their part in the campaign, starting from Jamal [Blackman] in goal to Islam [Feruz] our striker, it has gone through the whole team, and we have had great support from the whole club.'
Viveash highlights the important effect the trophy-winning first team squad has on the young players, as well as the structure inside the Academy itself.
'We have an Academy manager Neil Bath who in my opinion is the best there is, he drives the staff on to be better every day, and there are some very good people right through the Academy, from the kitchen staff to administrator Hayley Prior and the office staff.
'We have experts in their field and some coaches that have brought more of a winning mentality, which follows the first team, and we have great role models in John Terry who has come through the Academy and some of the best players in Europe over the last 10 years. You can learn from their mentality every day and that winning mentality is breeding in the Academy, but you need good players and we have good young players.'
On Sunday when the first team take on Blackburn at Stamford Bridge, it is planned for the youth team to parade their trophy.
'I was fortunate to go round there with Dermot when they won two years ago,' says Viveash.
'It was a bit strange playing the second leg away from home this time but I was thrilled with the number of Chelsea fans who came to Ewood Park and supported us in all the games, and we look forward to Sunday.'
Highlights of last night's game are available now via Chelsea TV's online access.