Not many of Chelsea’s starting XI last night had played in front of a crowd away to Leeds before, but Mason Mount was one of those who had and not for the first time he enjoyed a May evening at Elland Road.
This time three years ago Mount was helping Frank Lampard’s Derby overturn a 2-0 aggregate deficit against Leeds in the Championship play-off semi-finals.
Mount scored that night and he was at it again yesterday, sweetly firing the Blues in front early on to set us on our way to a vital three points. His celebration in front of the home support served as a reminder to both his and Chelsea’s history with Leeds.
‘I was reading the programme before the game and it said something like ‘make the stadium as hard to play in as possible’, so when you come here you know it’s going to be tough, but we loved it,’ revealed Mount.
‘It was a massive game for both teams. It wasn’t just them, it was us as well, we needed the win after a few poor results.
‘It was a fun one. I do love playing here. It’s a stadium with a lot of history. Their fans are brilliant, they don’t like us too much so it was a good atmosphere, but as soon as we got the goal we quietened the stadium down a bit and could play our stuff. That was our objective in the first half.
‘It was about the way we started,’ added Mount. ‘The counter-press, the desire to win the ball back high and create chances, that is what it was all about in the first half, and at half-time the manager said to carry it on in the second. We did that. It made it easier that they had a man sent off as you have a bit more space, but they kept running, that’s what they’re all about.’
Our first league win in four games strengthened our place in the Champions League positions ahead of tonight’s north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal. If Spurs fail to win that one, a top-four position is ours.
We might have wrapped it up sooner, not least by holding on against Wolves, but the victory over Leeds provided the perfect tonic ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup final.
‘We spoke about how big this week was,’ said Mount.
‘It didn’t start well with the draw on Saturday, so we needed to bounce back. We had a few days to get together as a group, speak within the group, some truths that needed to be said, and we got that out of our system.
‘This was a game where we could get going. We know what’s coming up next, so this is a good step towards that. It’s all exciting, we’re ready and it’s time for us to win a [Cup] final.’