Although he admits he is living the dream with Chelsea by competing in two finals this season, Ben Chilwell says it is important not to be distracted from the task at hand.
The left wing-back was part of the team that beat Real Madrid over two legs to reach the Champions League final, as well as the one which defeated today’s opponents Manchester City at Wembley to book our place in the FA Cup final.
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Despite being eager to keep his focus on the immediate challenge, Chilwell does concede that finishing the season with so much to play for was exactly why he wanted to join Chelsea last summer.
‘Of course you dream of these moments, getting to Champions League finals, FA Cup finals, challenging for the top four,’ said the 24-year-old. ‘This is the reason that I joined Chelsea, to win trophies, to challenge for silverware, to play in big matches throughout the whole season.
‘For it to actually be the case now, where we’re in two cup finals, we’re fighting for the top four, it does make you think. You have worked hard for your whole career to join a club like Chelsea and to have the opportunity to play in these games now, it’s just an amazing feeling.’
However, while he adds that victories like those in the semi-finals, particularly against Manchester City, boost confidence, it’s important to put previous matches behind you and keep attention firmly on what needs to be done next.
‘When you beat a team it gives you confidence that you can do it again. That’s normal, but we’ve got them on the weekend, that’s the next game we are playing, that’s the game we are fully focused on.
‘Obviously it’s difficult after Wednesday when the whole team is on a complete high, but we’re going to have to try and turn that off for two or three weeks. We have a massive FA Cup game and four more massive Premier League games and we want to win all four to secure our place in the Champions League. Although it’s difficult to turn off the emotion from Wednesday, we have a massive game today which we need to win.’
A big part of our recent impressive performances that have propelled us into the top four and two cup finals has been our defensive solidity, including conceding just one goal in our last six matches, which Chilwell says is a source of great pride to the defenders, but also the result of a team effort.
‘As a defender it’s stuff that you work towards. Clean sheets are my first priority in football, which is the same case for the rest of the defenders and obviously Edou in goal. We are doing so well defensively, but it's not just the back five and the goalkeeper. It’s the whole team.
‘The strikers, the midfielders, everyone puts a shift in and defending does start from the front, so the reason we are doing so well defensively is not just down to the back five, it’s the whole team.’
He also credits our form to the work head coach Thomas Tuchel does with the players in training every day, as well as the trust and unity he has fostered within the squad and staff at Cobham.
‘He’s a very, very demanding manager which is what you want. He pushes us every day. If you’re not on it he will tell you and if you are doing well he will give you the confidence. When you have a manager that you know will tell you the truth it’s what you want, because you know where you need to improve, you know what you’re doing well.
‘Training is just really good and when we go into games we’re feeling fresh, we’re feeling fit, because training is so intense that when we come into matchdays we know we’re ready.
‘It’s a team which is so together. There are a lot of leaders in this team and if there is a discussion that needs to be had when something is not right then the discussion gets had the next day, which I think is so key to having a successful team.
‘We had it at Leicester the year we won the league, a lot of characters that would confront issues head on, and it’s the same with this team now. You also have that togetherness, which is massive, and everyone is so together which is good.’