The midfielder has been reflecting on added competition in the squad ahead of our return to cup football this evening...

Mason Mount has never been one to shy away from competition, whether it is proving himself as a top midfielder in the Academy ranks or establishing himself as a regular in senior football for club and country at the very highest level.

The 21-year-old has watched on as five new faces have been added to Frank Lampard’s squad for the new campaign but he is far from fearful about losing some of his team-high 37 Premier League appearances from last term. Instead, Mount’s mindset is simply that world-class reinforcements will only make him and his team-mates even better.

As Chelsea prepare to take on Barnsley in the Carabao Cup this evening at Stamford Bridge, an opportunity for Lampard to demonstrate the full strength and depth of his squad, Mount has been discussing how the new boys are going to raise standards to an even higher level.

‘You look at our team now and some brilliant world-class players have come in and that keeps the competition high,’ he said.

‘Everyone is pushing for places and that’s what you want at a club like this. You want the competition to be there because it keeps standards high. When you’re in this building, you’re competing straight away. Chelsea is a massive club so they’re always going to sign top players.’

Two of the new boys, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva, could be set to feature against Barnsley according to Lampard as the boss plans to use the game to continue building fitness among the squad given the unusually short pre-season and lack of friendlies.

Mount has known Chilwell for some time, having played alongside him for England at junior and senior level, and he welcomes the fight for starting places the new arrivals will provide.

‘Some of them we know very well like Chilly,’ continued Mount. ‘I know him very well so he’s come in and been around the boys quickly.

'The German boys coming in are obviously brilliant players and they add something to the group, Hakim as well and Thiago is another brilliant player. It’s all about competition at this club, world-class players coming in and they’re going to make all of us better.

‘I love competing against my team-mates, we all love it, and the gaffer wants high standards in training. There’s always going to be that little feeling that they could be coming in to your position but with me, I’m always positive and up for the challenge.’

The aim this season is to close the gap on the teams above us in the Premier League and continue fighting for silverware, both of which Mount believes we can succeed in despite what outside observers might expect.

‘A lot of people wrote us off last season saying we would get nowhere near the top four and we proved them wrong,’ he stated. ‘I definitely think we’ll be up there challenging, that’s where we want to be and we have to set that standard.

‘Everyone is always going to talk about Man City and Liverpool and what they did last season, especially Liverpool, but now we’ll see if they can do it again. We’re going to be up there and doing our best to push because we also want to be number one.’

Speaking of number ones, Barnsley’s man between the posts tonight will be another familiar face to Mount. Bradley Collins spent nine years as a Chelsea player, progressing through the youth ranks before switching permanently to Yorkshire last summer.

He is two years older than the midfield man but the pair did play together in the triumphant 2015/16 UEFA Youth League campaign and for our Under-21s. Isaac Christie-Davies is another former Academy graduate who now plies his trade for the Tykes but for the duo, Mount will be hoping it is an unhappy homecoming as the Blues seek a place in the next round and a London derby tie against either Tottenham or Leyton Orient.

-Read our pre-match briefing ahead of the cup tie