Following a 20-minute cameo that almost helped instigate a late comeback at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, Olivier Giroud is hopeful that he can continue to assist the Chelsea cause over the final three months of the season.
The Frenchman saw a goal ruled out for offside by VAR at 2-0 down and that blow changed the atmosphere in the stadium from one of optimism to resignation as we were beaten by Manchester United for the third time this season.
On a personal level, Giroud was happy to be back out on the pitch for the first time since the end of November and he admitted he felt fresh and focused on making a difference for his team.
‘After two months not playing, I felt very good on the pitch with a lot of energy and determination,’ he said. ‘I scored a nice goal from a nice cross and I just tried to stay behind [Harry] Maguire but I was half a foot offside.
‘It’s very frustrating because it could have changed the game but obviously we made two mistakes on two goals and we need to improve on that.’
The Blues have won just once in the league this calendar year and Giroud knows that form must be restored if they are to reach their target of securing Champions League qualification.
Despite the speculation linking him with a move away from west London throughout January, the 33-year-old remains intent on helping Frank Lampard’s side recover momentum and end the season strongly.
‘I’m a Chelsea player so now I need to move on and look forward,’ explained Giroud. ‘I want to give everything for the team and it’s a personal target for me to play as much as I can to play the Euros with my country.
‘Right now, I’m 100 per cent focused on Chelsea’s targets and I want to keep fighting to come back on to the team sheet and the scoresheet. Every single game is a big opportunity for me to show my desire to do that.’
After almost eight seasons in London playing for teams that hold a fierce rivalry with Tottenham, Giroud is well aware of the significance of Saturday lunchtime’s encounter with Jose Mourinho’s side, not least because they sit just one point behind us in the league table.
‘We just need to improve on the small details because that’s where you can win or lose big games,’ the striker added. ‘Now we need to step up and improve on those small margins - they’re huge at the highest level.
‘It was a tough result so we need to think about it because it’s another big game for us on Saturday against Tottenham.’