The UEFA Youth League resumes this week with a play-off tie for our Under-19s against their counterparts from AS Monaco, with a place in the last-16 up for grabs. The one-off tie takes place at Cobham this evening (Tuesday), kick-off 5pm, and will be screened live on BT Sport.
Joe Edwards’s side have progressed comfortably through the domestic champions pathway, recording 14-1 and 9-0 aggregative victories over Molde and IF Elfsborg respectively. The play-off round now pits the Blues against the Group A runners-up from the UEFA Champions League pathway, with home advantage handed to our youngsters.
It is the first meeting between the young Blues and French opposition since the 2016 final, when Adi Viveash’s side beat Paris Saint-Germain courtesy of goals from Fikayo Tomori and Kasey Palmer. Those teams victorious in the play-off round advance to join the group stage winners in the last-16, a stage in each of our past four seasons of involvement.
A scorer in the quarter-final and semi-final last term, Daishawn Redan knows what it takes to help his side advance in Europe and the 18-year-old admits there is added incentive in the Chelsea dressing room after a difficult defeat in last campaign’s final against Barcelona.
‘There’s a lot of motivation to win the competition this year because we lost last time in the final and that always hurts more,’ the Dutchman tells the official Chelsea website as we look ahead to the tie.
‘It’s very different to last season because we need to win three knockout ties just to reach the last-16.
'The early rounds were good for us and we had the confidence to win those games quite comfortably so we’re looking forward to the games ahead.’
— Daishawn Redan
The striker has faced more competition for a starting spot this term but admits the experience has been a good test in his personal development.
‘I’ve been a little bit in and out of the team this season,’ he says. ‘We have a few more strikers now, whereas last season I was the only striker after Christmas, so there’s more competition and rotation.
‘It’s been a new challenge for me - before at Ajax I played almost every game and it was the same last season here so now I have to fight for my place and work hard every day to get into the team.’
Monaco finished runners-up to Atletico Madrid in the group stage before Christmas and recorded away wins at Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge, demonstrating their ability to grind out results on their travels.
‘We know it’s a little bit harder than before now because Monaco are a big club and they have a good team,’ continues Redan. ‘We’ve watched some clips of them and they look hard to beat but we have confidence in ourselves because we know we have good players.’
You can follow updates from Cobham on our official @chelseafc Twitter.