Reece James believes the Blues could be on track for silverware if we continue to make progress under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel…
The prospect of lifting a trophy this season is not beyond the realm of possibility given we are through to the FA Cup quarter-finals and have a first-leg advantage in our Champions League last-16 contest with Atletico Madrid.
For James, who captained our Under-18s to Youth Cup glory but has yet to win senior silverware, our recent improvements offer encouragement that we can end the season in style.
The 21-year-old returned to the side in Thursday’s 1-0 win at Liverpool, helping the team keep a third clean sheet in a row. His new wing-back role has come about following Tuchel’s successful switch to a back three and he feels the players have done well to adapt so quickly.
‘The style of play that he’s brought in was evident and clear for us to understand,’ explained James of the new coach's methods.
‘The more we play together, the stronger we will be. Game by game, we will get better and build together.’
It has been six weeks since the German arrived at Stamford Bridge, during which time the Blues have remained undefeated in all competitions and conceded just twice in 10 matches.
As a touchline coach, Tuchel makes no attempt to hide his emotions and establishing open relationships has helped form bonds quickly.
‘He is very funny and very passionate because he wants to win,’ James revealed.
‘He wants the best for his players and his team, and that shows when he’s on the sideline kicking and heading every ball. Everyone gets on well and it’s a great group.’
With a large squad and a relentless schedule, Tuchel has already had to make tough selection decisions and James himself has been a substitute more often than a starter to date under the new boss. However, the defender is well aware that patience is a virtue and he hopes to continue impressing whenever he gets the opportunity to feature.
‘When you play for a top team, you cannot always play and you know you might find yourself in a period where you don’t play as much,’ he added.
‘You have to just keep working hard and you never know when your chance will come. I have to keep working and be ready. The manager always has his reasons on why he thinks that person should play. He is the manager and he makes the decisions so I have to respect them.’
‘He wants the best for his players and his team, and that shows when he’s on the sideline kicking and heading every ball.'
— Reece James on Tuchel
While this may be just his second season among the senior squad, few players have the Chelsea DNA running through them quite as much as James, who started training at the club at the age of six.
He has experienced the winning mentality that is required for many years and that desire to be successful is evident when the youngster looks ahead to the final three months of the season.
‘We have to win trophies this season,’ he stated confidently.
‘There are not many games left to play so we need to keep working and keep on pushing game by game because the aim is always to win trophies.’