Mason Mount has given his view on the reasons behind our excellent recent form at both ends of the pitch.
Ahead of tonight’s Champions League tie away at Rennes, the Blues are 12 games unbeaten in 90 minutes and have won our last five in a row in all competitions. Even more impressively, we have conceded just a single goal in our last seven fixtures, while scoring 16 times ourselves.
When asked why we have been enjoying such a good run, Mount was clear on what the biggest improvement this season has been.
‘I think the ruthlessness we have now to kill games off, to score goals, as you could see against Newcastle. It was a tough game and maybe last season we would have gone there and struggled to score and keep a clean sheet,’ he said.
‘So I think the evolution of our performances and the way we’re playing at the moment, you can tell that we’ve definitely become more solid in defence and as a defensive unit, as a team, and being ruthless in front of goal.
‘We’ve scored a lot of goals this season so far but we’re never content and we know what we can achieve as a group and hopefully we can keep winning games, keep being strong mentally, because the season is very tough. There’s so many games coming up quick, so we need to go into every game with the confidence we’re going to win it and I think that’s the difference between last season and this season so far.’
The defensive side of our game has been perhaps the most notable improvement in recent weeks, with the likes of Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva in particular rightly receiving plenty of praise for their parts in our string of clean sheets.
However, Mount also highlighted the role our more attacking players have played, especially this season’s new signings who have needed time to adapt to Frank Lampard’s high-pressing style.
‘At the beginning of the season, with the new players coming in, the press that had become so normal to us last season, we found it quite difficult, because maybe the players that came in didn’t get to the kind of shape that we wanted and found it difficult at the beginning.
‘Now we’ve worked on it, it’s a massive focus of ours, to press from the front, to work as a team to win the ball back higher up so we’re not defending so deep. That’s a big focus of ours and now we’re getting to grips with it and as a team we’re doing so well at that and it obviously starts from the front, starts from the forward boys, and works its way back.
‘We’ve definitely been stronger at the back and solid and that gives us, the front boys, the midfielders, confidence to push the wingers and the strikers on and allows us to get higher up. So it’s a knock-on effect and we’ve been working on it from day one this season and now I think we’re getting used to it and it’s working well.’
In addition to their obvious impact on the pitch, those new signings have also proved an important presence at the training ground, with Mount delighted with the chance to learn from one man in particular.
‘We all learn stuff off each other. When you have players like them coming in, and Thiago Silva, who’s been through a lot and been at the top of the game for a long time, you can gain so much experience by just talking to him and speaking to him for five minutes here and there.
‘He’s a brilliant player and has been through it all, so a player like that coming into this team really helps, especially us younger players that are coming through, and gives us a lot of experience.’
However, Mount’s enthusiasm about the impact on and off the pitch of the new players who have joined Chelsea this season should come as no surprise, given his desire for constant improvement in both himself and the team.
‘For me personally, my standard is to always go into the next season wanting to do better, wanting to do more and wanting to achieve more, and I’ve done that throughout my whole career. There’re world-class players coming into this club, to this team, and I’ve said before me and the boys know what we can achieve.
‘So it’s brilliant to have that competition within the group. But as I said, I always want to keep pushing myself to get better and better, and every season I set new goals to go on and get better and achieve more. That’s the kind of person I am. So it’s brilliant to have that competition and world-class players coming into the group.’