Tammy Abraham admits defeat to Newcastle was a painful moment, but sees a great opportunity to set the record straight in a run of big fixtures coming up, starting with the visit of Arsenal.
We were on the receiving end of a smash-and-grab performance at St James’ Park, when Isaac Hayden’s injury-time goal gave the hosts all three points from a match in which we dominated the play but couldn’t find a way through a stubborn defence.
However, a series of upcoming games against fellow Champions League hopefuls like Arsenal, Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester United means we have some great opportunities to make up any lost ground against our rivals for a top-four finish, the importance of which isn’t lost on our number nine.
‘It’s massive,’ said Abraham. ‘The gaffer said after the game “We gave it our all, keep your heads up we’ve got another massive game on Tuesday” and we just have to take our anger out against Arsenal.’
There is likely to be plenty of frustration for the players to exorcise when the Gunners come to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening, after such a painful defeat on Tyneside, and our striker admits the result stings.
‘It’s a tough one to take,’ he explained. ‘These are the kind of games you watch on TV and you never expect it to happen to you. We dominated the game, in the second half I don’t remember them having a shot until the last minute and they score.
‘For us, we have to give credit to Newcastle, they defended well all game, they disrupted our style of play, but we gave it our all and were unfortunate to lose at the end.’
Abraham also admitted that, for himself and the other young players in the Chelsea squad experiencing their first season of Premier League football, games like that one at Newcastle provide an important lesson and a new challenge they need to learn from, instead of focusing on the frustration of trying to find a way past a massed defence content to spend the match in and around their own penalty area.
‘It’s hard, especially as a striker. You’re the highest man and there’s no space for you, just overcrowded with a lot of bodies around you, so it was a frustrating night for me and I’m sure the other players as well. Games like this we just have to take a draw or get luck at the end, like Newcastle did.
‘I just have to stay patient because that chance could come at any time and you have to be ready. There were lots of half-chances for the likes of me and Willian, and on another day these go in and we kill off the game, but it wasn’t our day.’