After helping Chelsea record a seventh clean sheet in nine games and claim a useful point against London rivals at Stamford Bridge, Ben Chilwell reflected on the positives following our 0-0 stalemate with Spurs...
The full-back had to be on full alert up against the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, restricting the visitors to just one shot on target all game and their first blank in the league since the opening day of the season.
Our only frustration was an inability to take a chance of our own, with Mason Mount denied by an excellent Hugo Lloris save in the second half and Olivier Giroud unable to lift the ball over his compatriot in stoppage time.
Afterwards, Chilwell admitted it was a game of fine margins, in which both teams were careful not to make mistakes that could cost a goal.
‘I spoke to a few of the Tottenham boys and we all felt it was pretty tight,’ the defender said. ‘It was on a bit of a knife-edge and needed a bit of brilliance from an individual to go and win the game.
‘Mason’s strike might have done it but it was a great save. Both teams were tactically pretty good and, as much as we’d have liked to have won the game, it was important not to lose either.
‘We’re happy with a clean sheet against a great strikeforce like theirs because we know how good they are. Kane and Son are very clinical going forward and the link-up play between them is very good so we’re happy with nullifying them both.’
In a meeting of second and third in the Premier League, there were fluctuating motivations to win the game while also avoiding losing it and Chilwell felt that added tension on the field.
‘When you’re battling up the top, you don’t want to give them points and they don’t want to give you points,' he went on. 'We wanted to win but we’ll take the draw – we’ve got to be happy with that.
‘I don’t know if it was entertaining to watch but I found it pretty entertaining on the pitch because it was two good teams who were tactically very good on the day. I’d have loved for us to win the game at Stamford Bridge against our rivals but for myself and the rest of the defence, the clean sheet is really important for us moving forward.’
Chilwell went down in the second half after rolling his right ankle and looked for a while like he might not be able to continue. It was a worrying moment for a player who has already missed part of the early season with injury issues but the 23-year-old explained the problem was more pain from the impact rather than anything more sinister.
‘I was desperate to carry on and thankfully I ran it off,’ he continued. ‘It’s fine now so I’m just looking forward to recovering and hopefully playing again in midweek.’
A trip to Spain to take on Sevilla in the Champions League is the next assignment for Frank Lampard’s Blues, after which we host Leeds United for the first time in 16 years in a game at which Chelsea supporters will be able to attend, in a limited capacity, for the first time since March.
‘Myself and a few of the other players haven’t played at the Bridge with fans so we’re very excited to have them back next week,’ he added. ‘Hopefully they can give us that little push.’