Chilwell on a job half done, learning from Tuchel and his mate Mount’s talent

Ben Chilwell was the Chelsea player chosen to answer the media’s questions ahead of our Champions League quarter-final second leg against Porto, and the man who made such a decisive impact last week spoke about the state of the tie, his personal development in recent months and the quality of his good friend and team-mate Mason Mount.

Chilwell netted his third Chelsea goal and his first in the Champions League with a sublime individual effort against Porto on Wednesday. That solo strike added gloss to a disciplined European performance from the Blues, and puts us in a commanding position heading into the second leg of this unusual Seville-based tie.

Despite our advantage, Chilwell wanted to make it clear he and his Chelsea colleagues are taking nothing for granted.

‘It’s definitely not over,’ he said at a press conference in Seville.

‘We are not going into tomorrow complacent because the job is only half done. It’s very important we go into the game with that same mentality we did the first game.

‘If you look at the first leg, we knew it would be a very physical game. We couldn’t really have asked for a better first leg. Hopefully it is more of the same tomorrow.

‘They are a strong outfit with a lot of very technically gifted players. They are a proud team as well and there is a Champions League semi-final up for grabs. The two away goals could prove to be crucial, but it’s only half a job done.’

Since Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge in late January and immediately switched to a system deploying wing-backs, Chilwell has been in and out of the side with Marcos Alonso back in the frame.

‘When the manager came in it was a clean slate for everyone,’ acknowledged the 24-year-old.

‘I didn’t play the first three or four games which could have got me down, but I used it as an opportunity to work harder, and ask the manager questions in training about where he thought I could improve my game to get more game time.

‘When I get the opportunity to play I want to prove to him I should be playing more regularly. I’m sure the other players, Marcos included, are doing the same thing.

‘That competition is very healthy,’ added Chilwell.

‘With the stage of the season we are at, with quarter-finals and semi-finals in the cups, and our league positioning trying to finish in the top four, it’s very important we have everyone in the squad challenging each other for 11 shirts, training hard and playing hard because they want to be in the team.’

Chilwell went on to say he has improved a lot since learning more about the left wing-back position and it has made him a ‘different player’ with an added skillset.

One journalist wanted to get Chilwell’s thoughts on Mount, his team-mate at club and international level, and he didn’t hesitate in adding his name to those who have heaped praise on the midfielder this season.

‘Before I came here me and Mase were close through the England set-up, but that was only in training and playing with him a few times a season.

‘Now training with him every day, I see how good he really is. It’s not just his natural ability, but the fact he works very hard, he is very keen to learn all the time, and he is always doing extra work in the gym. He does everything he can to better himself.

‘With the natural talent he has, his work-rate, the sky is the limit for him. Since I’ve come in until now, he has improved so much.

‘If he keeps on doing what he is doing, scoring, assisting, staying humble, working hard, then he will be a great player for Chelsea and England for a long time.’

It was Mount who joined Chilwell on the scoresheet in Seville last week, and the left-back nearly made it two in two games when he went close at Selhurst Park shortly after half-time.

‘I got a bit of stick off Mase and Callum when I chopped it onto my right foot and had a shot and didn’t pass the ball!’ admitted Chilwell as the conference drew to a close.

‘But the goal against Porto gave me confidence to score a goal like that. When I get in those positions it’s important I take on more shots and hopefully I can score a few more goals.’

Another in the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium tomorrow would be most welcome.

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