Callum Hudson-Odoi is enjoying playing in this season’s Europa League and says his strike against Dynamo Kiev was a goal made in the Chelsea Academy.
The 18-year-old came off the bench in the second half of our last 16 first leg tie against Dynamo at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening and found the back of the net late on to complete a 3-0 victory, which leaves us well placed going into next week’s second match in the Ukrainian capital.
That goal finished a fine team move, with Pedro’s raking pass from wide on the right turning the Dynamo defence and presenting another substitute, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with a sight of goal. However, the midfielder spotted the run of his teenage team-mate, and unselfishly flicked the ball inside for Hudson-Odoi to score his third goal in this season’s Europa League.
‘Every time I play in this competition I feel confident to get goals and I feel like the team did really well, and obviously Ruben for the goal, saw me and picked me out really well,’ he said. ‘So I think it was a good overall performance and I’m just happy to keep getting goals and keep playing.’
With Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi both having learned their football in our Academy from an early age, our number 20 believes their latest link-up owes much to their time in the Blues’ youth system.
‘Even in training we always like to get the ball and play with each other because, obviously coming from the Academy, we like to play a lot, we know when to find each other, when the players are moving, when to give it to them.
‘So I think Ruben saw me today and he knew that I was in a better position than him so he thought: “Let’s give him the chance to score”. It was really unselfish of him and I’m really happy that I got the goal, but all credit to him as well for finding me and letting me get the goal.’
That third goal gave the tie a very different complexion, especially coming during the visitors’ only spell of real threat, meaning Dynamo Kiev now have a mountain to climb to come back from a three-goal deficit in the second leg.
‘They had a bit of momentum in the second half because they were losing so they had to get a goal, but as soon as we got the third I think it kills a lot of things off and they’ll have to come out a bit more in the second leg, which helps us a bit,’ noted Hudson-Odoi.
‘So we know that they are going to be up for it from minute one and we need to keep our heads strong with a good mentality and obviously try and get the win there as well.’