Having been brought into the side for last night’s win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, Willy Caballero praised the Chelsea team for the efforts at both ends of the pitch after we came out on top in the London derby.
The opener, scored by Pedro early in the second half, was followed by a Kieran Trippier own-goal late on as we got back to winning ways in the Premier League and closed the gap on Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
For Caballero, chosen to start ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga, it was a fairly comfortable evening as the visitors failed to record a single shot on target, but the Argentinian was delighted to play his part in an important win.
‘After this victory, of course every supporter of Chelsea, every player and every part of the club is going to be happy,’ said the goalkeeper.
‘The atmosphere was amazing and we needed to win. We did it pretty well, we defended very well and we are happy that we finished a great game by defending well and scoring goals.’
Caballero was given his first Premier League start of the season last night following the incident involving Kepa during Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.
‘First of all it was a strange situation which everybody saw,’ he said. ‘I have to leave it, we have to leave it but I think everyone involved in what happened learnt something and this just brings something good in the atmosphere of the team and that’s the good news.
‘We passed the last days in good harmony, just thinking about how to beat Spurs and we did it. It was very important, it wasn’t a final but that doesn’t matter, we’ve improved a lot and we are more together than ever.
‘We spoke about it after the incident and it was good to have a chat with him [Kepa]. He learnt a lot after what happened and we learnt a lot, as a club and as a team. Sometimes these things can pull players apart but in this case we are more together than ever.
‘The boss decided to put me in goal and Kepa was supporting me in the warm-up and everything. We are in great harmony. We must keep going and keep doing this because as goalkeepers you have to support each other.
‘I said to him keep going, I know it’s a tough decision but you must keep going, and he said the same to me. We support each other.
‘I felt very good because it was a very hard decision,’ Caballero added, when asked how it felt for him to be selected. ‘I’ve been listening in the last few days. I’ve had chances to play but when the boss confirmed the team I was surprised and I felt blessed to have the opportunity to play in this derby.’
In the Premier League we now face a run of fixtures against teams outside the top six, which presents us with a good opportunity to maintain our push for a place in the top four.
Caballero is eager not to look too far ahead, however, with the ‘keeper simply focusing on winning our next match, which comes against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
‘We are focused on that but we need to go step by step,’ he said. ‘Every time we look too far ahead from the next game we make a mistake, so we have to be clear.
‘There are a few games where two teams competing are involved, in the next match Arsenal play Spurs, which is good for us, but it’s only good if we win. We are happy with what we achieved but we have to be ready for the next game.’