Olivier Giroud netted his sixth Europa League goal of the season and Callum Hudson-Odoi his second in last night’s victory over Malmo, and the pair spoke afterwards of a confidence-boosting outcome ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
Giroud had converted a low Willian delivery in Sweden last week and the same pair combined for our first goal at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night, with the French striker making it six goals in his last five outings in this competition at an average of one every 82 minutes.
‘It was a good night for us, we finished the job well, and now we can focus on the next game,’ assessed Giroud afterwards.
‘We needed some confidence back, and that’s why we needed a good win and to reassure ourselves defensively. With the clean sheet it is a good point. We were strong defensively and we have been efficient at home.
‘They were very good in midfield with a compact block. It was difficult for us to find the solutions, but we kept going. The manager said we needed to play quickly and again and again between the lines, and that is what we did. They ran a lot in the first half, so we knew they would be a bit tired in the second, and that’s when we stepped up.’
Hudson-Odoi put the seal on what eventually proved a comfortable victory courtesy of a powerful right-footed strike after Willian had switched the play and picked out his opposite winger in space. It capped off another bright performance from the 18-year-old, who was quick to pay tribute to the team’s efforts before his own.
‘I’m happy with the result first of all,’ Hudson-Odoi said.
‘All the boys worked hard. We played really well throughout the game. Our mentality was strong. As Oli said we knew they would come out fast because they needed to get a goal, so we paced ourselves throughout. We deserved our win.
‘I’m happy with the goal,’ he continued. ‘That’s a bonus on top of the work the team did. Hopefully I did well and made an impact.’
Looking ahead to the next game, Giroud is hopeful the win over Malmo will set us up nicely for Sunday’s showpiece against Manchester City.
‘It’s good for our confidence and now we need momentum. It’s going to be a totally different game at Wembley. It’s a final and we need to play as a final. I am sure we will answer well to the league game [at the Etihad].’