Tammy Abraham believes Chelsea’s young squad must be given time to develop relationships with the summer signings, particularly given how the congested fixture calendar has limited day-to-day work on the training pitches.
The striker has been an unused substitute in both our previous outings, having netted three goals in the two games before that, as minutes are shared with attacking summer arrivals such as Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
It has been a frustrating festive period for the Blues, who have collected four points from a possible 18, and Abraham has acknowledged that it is taking time for the new signings to adapt. However, that period of adjustment is a normal one according to our number nine, even more so after an opening to 2020/21 that has seen the players face 33 games for club and country in 17 weeks.
‘We have hardly had any time to train together and to work out how each other play so we’re just taking every day as it comes at the moment,’ claimed the 23-year-old.
‘Every game we play, we’re learning new things about each other. I’m starting to understand them more and they’re starting to understand me more so hopefully we drive each other and be the best we can be.’
Abraham has made 21 Chelsea appearances already this term but admitted he still gets taken aback from time to time at how quickly he has emerged onto the senior stage at Stamford Bridge following a 15-year association with his boyhood club.
Much of that journey was spent in our Academy but it is his time on loans at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa that have taught him most about adapting to the men’s game.
‘I dreamt about it as a little boy and I still feel like I’m dreaming today,’ he said. ‘I’ve been at the club since the age of seven so you can imagine how much I’ve always wanted to make it to the top level. I still have to pinch myself now and then when I realise where I am today.
‘I think you need the experience of going out on loan as a young kid, playing men’s football at the top level. I was getting kicked and scratched in games and you have to learn that ugly side of football as well. It really prepared me to know what I had to come back and do.
‘I had to learn to use my body more because you don’t need it as much as a kid growing up. I learnt about being in the right positions, had to work on my finishing of course, and just try to understand my team-mates more. That’s the main thing I’ve learnt over the years.’
Yet it is perhaps hunger and desire, character traits that burn strongly and visibly in Abraham, that have helped the young striker reach the top more than anything else.
‘You have to be hungry and work hard because you see a lot of talent at the younger ages when you’re growing up at Chelsea but we know that talent alone is never enough,’ added Abraham.
‘You have to put in that extra work and work even harder. For me right now, it’s still all about working as hard as I can and trying to be the best I can be.’