Mason Mount has underlined the importance of aiming high and explained why he ignores the pundits to keep his focus on winning matches on the pitch.
Chelsea go into our next game against Rennes in the Champions League in fine form, having won our last five matches in a row in all competitions, leaving us top of Group C in Europe and just two points from the top of the domestic table.
However, Mount insists he and the rest of the Blues players can never be happy with where they are and must always be looking to do better and challenge for silverware.
‘That’s always been our goal,’ he said. ‘We know what we can achieve, we know the level of players in this group. We can never be content with being at the top of the group in the Champions League and going to the top of the league and being close to it, being around it. We can never be content with that. We know what we can do in this group and our goal is always to be number one and to push for titles.
‘We definitely know we can do that and the most important thing at the moment is to keep that momentum going. Keep going from game to game and trying to go into the game with the mentality of winning it. When you keep that momentum going you kind of just go into every game and want to win, so I think we’re in a good place at the moment but we can’t get carried away. We know what we can do so it’s exciting times, but we’re also ready to keep working hard.’
Despite the team and Mount’s impressive performances for Chelsea and England, he has found himself on the receiving end of some harsh criticism on social media this season, with head coach Frank Lampard speaking out in his defence as he tries to understand why not everyone can see what he brings to the side.
‘Social media has changed the face of how people critique or talk about football. It’s very easy to sit on a phone and make harsh statements,’ said Lampard. ‘Mason looks clean cut, he doesn’t do triple-stepovers and flicks over the back of his head. He makes really efficient sharp passes; he presses as well as any midfield player I’ve worked with or played alongside.
‘There are 100 things in his game that impress the managers he works for. It’s very easy or casual to bracket him off. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire because I know Mason has got a lot to improve on, and that’s what takes you on to his attitude and desire to improve. He can score more goals, he can get more assists, but he is a quality player who is only going to get better.’
The player himself says he has learned to ignore criticism from outside the club and just focus on what his manager and the team need from him in order to win matches, and working to become the best player he can be rather than trying to win people over with eye-catching tricks and flicks.
‘I think that’s the big focus of mine, what I do on the pitch,’ he explained. ‘I haven’t really looked too much into the social media side. With the fans not in the stadiums a lot of people have got a lot of things to say on social media or watching the game. I try to stay off it, even if we’ve won the game, it doesn’t really matter to me.
‘I know the focus of my performances and the team’s performances are on the pitch, and we’ve got to do what we have to do on the pitch. The focus is what we do on it and trying to get the three points every game.
‘Maybe when I was in the Academy I did a little flick here and there and a little step-over, but as you get older I learned in the Championship, that was my first kind of experience of it, they don’t always come off and players that are experienced are going to read that. They know what you’re going to do.
‘Then coming into the Premier League and back to Chelsea, being quick on the ball, knowing what you’ve got to do before the ball comes to you, is the most important thing. As a midfielder you’re always going to have that pressure in there to move the ball quickly. We’re playing in the Champions League and playing in the Premier League, the best league in the world, so the ball needs to move quicker than you do and I definitely learned that, especially last season.
‘So I’m just trying to evolve my game to be quick, to know what I’ve got to do when the ball comes to me, and that’s definitely something I’ve learned over the last couple of years.’
Lampard’s comments follow on from a similar defence of Mount from his England boss Gareth Southgate and that support is important to him, as well as the chance to learn from someone who experienced so much as a player.
‘It obviously means a lot to me to have two managers that trust me and are willing to put me in big games and I’d always be ready for any opportunity I get. I obviously worked under him [Lampard] at Derby and now I come in at Chelsea and I haven’t seen too much of a change in him.
‘He’s a young manager and as players we learn a lot off him. He’s been there, he’s done it in the game, so as players we can speak to him and learn about experiences he’s been through and it helps us as players.’