Analysis

Mount and Pulisic on proving a point, goal involvement in Watford win and tight top-four race

Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic were at the centre of so much that was good about Chelsea last night, and the young duo were satisfied with their efforts against Watford as well as the team’s, with victory propelling us back into the top four.

Manchester United’s win over Bournemouth earlier on Saturday meant we were fifth at kick-off. It was the first time since October we have not been in a Champions League place, but the Blues showed no signs of nerves with an emphatic 3-0 success over the struggling Hornets.

Mount was heavily involved in our first goal, finding Ross Barkley between the lines who in turn slipped in Olivier Giroud, while Pulisic was fouled for the penalty that Willian converted before half-time. There were plenty of standout performers in blue on a fantastic night at the Bridge, but in the end it was Mount who got the nod as the official man of the match following an industrious display in the middle of the park.

‘I’m quite surprised I got man of the match to be fair!’ he admitted after full-time.

‘I was just trying to keep the ball and keep it ticking over. Ross got a goal and an assist, but it was a brilliant performance all round. We spoke before the game about needing a reaction, and coming out and showing what we can do. It was a must win and we did that.

‘In the final third we were clinical, we could have had a couple more, but in a game where we had a lot of possession we switched off a couple of times and you can’t do that at this level. So there are things to work on, but other than that it was a great performance.’

Pulisic delivered another high-class performance of his own, tormenting the Watford backline with a combination of speed and skill. His form since the restart has been electric, so no wonder the Eden Hazard comparisons continue.

‘He was an incredible player for Chelsea,’ acknowledged Pulisic.

‘He’s a world-class player. I’m not comparing myself to him just yet, I’m just trying to be my own player, and hopefully the fans like that guy!

‘I feel really confident in my game right now. I’m happy I can be on the field helping my team. I’m just going to continue and keep my confidence high.’

Mount’s vision and technical quality drew praise from Cesc Fabregas, and the current Chelsea man explained why the midfield dynamic worked so well last night, especially for Mount and Barkley’s combination for the opener.

‘When you’ve got N’Golo behind you, so solid and covers everywhere, you don’t need to worry too much about getting back and defending because he’s always there. That’s a massive help.

‘All me and Ross try and do is link the play up, get in the box and try and score goals and create chances. That’s our job when we’re in the team, and it worked well.

‘They started off with two blocks of four, making it difficult for us to break them down and get chances, so that kind of through pass you have to punch it in, because if you don’t it’s going to get intercepted,’ added Mount of his pass to Barkley.

‘I tried to disguise it a bit, I saw him in the pocket and I just tried to wrap it in. It was a good touch [from Barkley], good through ball, and it was good timing from Oli and a good finish.

‘It’s down to us to perform. We were in a good position before West Ham but we lost, and that’s kind of how our season has gone. We have bounced back from defeats. We can get the wins when the pressure’s on and we need to get as many three points as we can.’

That sentiment was echoed by Pulisic, who felt he could have won a second penalty after the break. Nonetheless, it was a very happy Independence Day for our American star.

‘There was a little extra energy because of the loss at West Ham,’ he said. ‘We wanted to come out and prove a point. We did that.

‘It’s going to be a tight race to the end, but we’re looking forward to the challenge. We are going to need to continue to get results, one after the other. We’re confident we can do it.’

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