FA YOUTH CUP: LEARNING LESSONS
The defence of the FA Youth Cup continues on Friday with a fifth-round clash at home to Barnsley, and youth team manager Adi Viveash has called on his young side to use the ball intelligently if we are to progress to the quarter-finals.
The Blues displayed tremendous character in the previous round, coming from 2-0 down against Charlton Athletic at the Valley to win 3-2 after extra-time, and the manager is expecting another tight encounter.
'We played them at the same stage three years ago, when Dermot [Drummy] was in charge,' he tells the official Chelsea website. 'That was a very tough game and I'm not expecting anything less this time around.
'They work very hard and keep their shape well. In the two games they've played in the competition so far they've played different systems, which shows they're adaptable.
'We've done our homework. My assistant Joe [Edwards] and I made the long trip to go and watch them play Stevenage. The game could have gone either way, but that's like many of the FA Youth Cup matches this season.
'For them, it's a chance to come to us with the pressure off. I'm confident, like I always am, with what I've got in the dressing room.
'It will be an interesting game to see how they set up, but more importantly, what we do to cause them problems.'
The game against Charlton will be remembered for a dramatic finish and the manner in which we fought our way back into the match.
The manager, however, is hoping his side have learnt their lesson from a first-half display which left us with it all to do after the break.
'It was a complete contrast from the first game against Colchester United, where we came flying out of the blocks,' he reflects.
'Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition and Charlton played extremely well in the first half, but I'll be looking for us to display more technical ability on the ball and use it better, but if we play like we did in the second half we'll have no problems because we really stepped up to the mark when it mattered.'
The Under-18s approach the game in fine spirits having won 5-1 in the league at Crystal Palace at the weekend.
'The team on the Saturday has slightly different personnel to the Youth Cup team, but they've performed at a consistent level all season,' says Viveash.
'We got a great result at a really tough place at the weekend; I was delighted with the goals but even more so with the performance. We have a lot of players in good form at the moment and it's difficult for me to pick a squad, but it's about challenging players to play in this environment.
'Take Alex Davey, for example; last season he made his first Youth Cup start in a semi-final at Old Trafford, it doesn't get any bigger than that, and that's what it's all about.'
Chelsea Under-18s v Barnsley takes place at Staines Town Football Club on Friday 15 February, kick-off 7pm.
Tickets are priced £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors, and are available from the turnstiles on the night.
The game will also be broadcast live and exclusive on Chelsea TV.