Willy Caballero says the Chelsea players have learned a lot from our contrasting league fixtures against Manchester City this season and will be giving everything to come out on top in the Carabao Cup final.
Of course, when we take on City at Wembley with the season’s first piece of silverware on the line, it will be against opponents Caballero knows well, having spent three years at the Etihad Stadium before joining the Blues, and he is hopeful of another warm reception from their fans when he faces his old team.
‘I did it in the Community Shield,’ he said. ‘It was a big surprise to hear all the supporters from City remind me, so it’s going to be another great situation for me. I don’t know if I’m going to play, but in this case I will be ready and I will always appreciate Manchester City giving me the opportunity to come and play in England.’
However, Caballero’s thoughts are now very much on how to defeat his old colleagues with the Blues. Our two Premier League meetings in 2018/19 have gone with home advantage, as we triumphed 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in December before the 6-0 defeat in Manchester earlier this month. The goalkeeper believes it is important to keep in mind what happened in both those matches when we meet again, even if this one being a cup final means it is likely to be a very different game.
‘It doesn’t matter the score, it does matter what we did right or what we did wrong, so hopefully we improve on this from the result from the last game, but also we don’t forget that we won against them at Stamford Bridge.
‘So we have one fantastic game against them, another horrendous game, probably, but in this case it’s just a final, so we have to play as a final, for every single ball, in the first minute, and for sure it’s going to be different.
‘Of course they have ability, because they won trophies last season, so it’s going to be a tough game, but we’ll see what happens. We’re going to work hard.’
We go into the Carabao Cup final on the back of a victory, having bounced back from our FA Cup exit to Manchester United with a comfortable 3-0 win over Malmo to secure our progress in the Europa League.
The Argentine international feels that confidence boost could be crucial to our chances as we switch our attentions to a third competition in the space of a week.
‘We played very well, as we wanted to play, but we needed to recover our feelings, our winning way, so we went through and we are really happy for this,’ explained Caballero.
‘Every time we have a defeat it increases the doubts and increases the negative things, so we just had to do a great job, be very solid in defence and we did it very well in the first half.
‘After, we created more and more chances. With a bit of quality and the skill of our players, we could score the goals and at the end we did also a great job away, so the game in the first leg for us was a good result also.’
The League Cup is competition in which both Caballero and Chelsea can draw on history for inspiration, as we have lifted the trophy no less than five times in the past and the goalkeeper performed heroics in the 2016 final to help Manchester City beat Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out.
‘Chelsea did it a lot in the past, because for this competition Chelsea has a lot of trophies, so we have to be ambitious for the trophy,’ he added. ‘Our mind has to be open for everything that happens and be ready. If we concede, nothing happens, you have 90 minutes to play against them and we want to play for the trophy.’