Reece James views tomorrow’s night Champions League meeting with Malmo as an opportunity for Chelsea to continue our winning run and improve our performance levels.
The right-back, who returned from injury as a late sub in our hard-fought win at Brentford over the weekend, was the nominated player to speak to the media ahead of our third group game.
James followed Thomas Tuchel, who had rated our recent performances as slightly below the best we are capable of, even if we did beat the Bees and, before the international break, Southampton. When asked about our form himself, the 21-year-old agreed there was room for improvement.
‘It’s still early on in the season, and we are not going to be at the highest level yet,’ noted James.
‘There is still a long way to go. The last few games probably haven’t been the highest level from us, but once we start winning and finding form and picking up momentum, I believe our performances will get better.
‘Tomorrow is a Champions League game, and the Champions League is a tough competition in football. Anything can happen, so we still need to prepare right. It’s not going to be an easy game, they’re a good side. Hopefully we can get the win and start building momentum.’
Every midweek is booked with cup or league action for the foreseeable future, so it promises to be another packed season for Chelsea. With James also a regular at international level, where there has been talk of a World Cup every two years, it was put to him players play too often now.
‘The schedule is very busy. The last few years it’s picked up, we play every few days, but we are used to it now. The start of the season is always busier because we have international breaks every month. After Christmas it will start to slow down a bit.
‘We have time away from football and get our head down. At the same time it is a busy schedule, we dedicate most of our lives to football, and everyone wants to be the best and have the best career.’
Our last Champions League home game, the win over Zenit, was marred for James when his house was burgled and his European winners’ medals stolen. He was asked if there was any news about the medals, and if it had left a nagging doubt in his mind when he is not at home.
‘There is no update,’ James reported.
‘There is no lead from the police or anyone. It’s obviously tough to take, someone breaking into my house and taking such valuable items. At this moment there is nothing I can really do, I just have to take it and move on.
‘Nobody wants to lose medals, they mean a lot to every player. A trophy is hard so when it gets taken away from you it’s tough.
‘It may well happen again,’ he added,’ but it doesn’t affect how I prepare for a game. I will still have the same mindset.’