Reece James focused on the team performance rather than his own starring role in Chelsea’s Champions League victory over AC Milan at Stamford Bridge.

We defeated the Italian champions 3-0 at Stamford Bridge to give our European campaign a much-needed kick-start following a difficult opening couple of games – drawing 1-1 with Red Bull Salzburg after a 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb – with this victory moving us up into second place in Group E.

After the match, James didn’t shy away from just how important getting the three points in this match with AC Milan was to getting our chances of progressing to the knockout rounds back on track.

‘We had a slow start to our Champions League group, we knew we needed to turn it around at some point and this was the day,’ said the wing-back.

‘Against a great opposition we needed to come away with all three points to give us a better chance to get out of the group.

‘It was a vital win that we needed to take. We started very slow in our group and our previous games showed that, so we needed to get off the mark in this game.’

James himself played a key role in the win, especially in the second half. After Wesley Fofana had slotted us in front from a corner, it was James’ cross which allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make it 2-0 before the Englishman finished the scoring himself by smashing a shot into the roof of the net just after the hour mark.

However, for the 22-year-old, it was the quality of the overall team performance and the effort put in as a group which gave him the most satisfaction, even if he admitted to taking particular pleasure from scoring and celebrating in front of the Matthew Harding Stand at the Bridge after they had repeatedly sung his name during the game.

‘I love scoring at that end and going to that corner! I’ve been here since I was young and I love playing for the club.

'I try to help the team when I can get forward and thankfully I was able to do that and I scored. I know that if I get into the right position I have the quality to provide either goals or assists, but I don’t think too much about scoring or assisting, I just play the game and hope for the best.

'I helped the team in this game and it’s a great feeling, but there were 10 of us out there on the pitch as well as me and that was a great team performance. We stuck together and it was a good team performance, it wasn’t individuals. We’re always there together and did it as a group.’

Our No24 insists the Blues won’t be patting ourselves on the back yet, though, as we know our Champions League group is still finely balanced at the midway point and we can expect a difficult challenge when we travel to Italy to face AC Milan again next Tuesday, regardless of our victory in the first meeting.

‘We go again next week against Milan again. It’s going to be another tough place to go,’ added James.

‘These days can sometimes happen in football, it doesn’t mean they’re not a top team. They’ve got many threats and they’re a great team, we see that in Serie A. We’re playing them again next week and we know it’s going to be a tough place to go and a tough game again.

‘This win doesn’t change anything. We’re going to San Siro, which is one of the toughest places to go. It’s a great stadium and playing there in front of their fans is going to be very tough. They’re going to be even more up for the game considering they lost this time.’