Analysis

PL2 reaction and highlights: Sterling on Blackburn win and being back out on the pitch

Chelsea defender Dujon Sterling marked Friday night’s PL2 win over Blackburn by helping keep a clean sheet on his 11th start of the season since returning from a 13-month injury spell.

Speaking at full-time, Sterling was pleased with the points and performance which leaves our development squad in second place with 39 points ahead of next weekend's season finale.

‘I’m really happy with the win,' he told the official Chelsea website. 'I think we deserved it over the whole game. What’s also good is the clean sheet because as defenders, that's what our game is all about.'

The 21-year-old has lasted the duration in all but one game for the development squad so far, and it was only a head injury which ended his involvement 13 minutes early against Leicester back in March.

‘I’m feeling physically good, mentally good as well. It was a challenging year but now I feel like my old self,’ he admitted. ‘I wasn’t in a bad head space at any point. I’ve just been determined to get back to my best and prove that I can still play.

‘I’m really happy that I’ve been able to play 90 minutes in nearly every game. I still feel like there is more in me to give but just being able to play is great.’

Since featuring for the development squad in May 2018, Sterling enjoyed a season-long loan spell at Coventry City and started the 2019/20 season in the second tier with Wigan Athletic. After over a year working hard to make a return, he is relishing being part of a team, even if it feels like starting over again.

‘It’s been a little different being back - the only player I’ve played with here before is George [McEachran],’ he explained. ‘It’s been good to learn different people’s games and for them to learn my game as well. It’s almost like being the new player at the club.

‘The morale in the team has been high even when we went through a rough patch. Everyone remained positive and it’s good to see from this young group. Playing as part of the back three allows Tino [Livramento] to get forward more and worry less about defending and I’ve enjoyed it being there.’

With a strong string of performances under his belt as we approach the season’s end, a rest over the summer months will be more than welcome for Sterling.

‘I didn’t have a summer last year because I was in every day trying to make a return,' he added. 'It will be good to have a little break but not until we finish the season strongly next week, and then we go again next season.’

The development squad finish their campaign away at Blackburn this Friday, a game you can watch live across the club's digital platforms. Kick-off is 4pm.

MORE FROM CHELSEA