Mason Mount was proud of the Chelsea players’ mentality in our 2-0 Champions League victory at AC Milan which took us top of the Group E table, and discussed his own impressive form and sympathy he felt for his former team-mate Fikayo Tomori who was sent off in the game.
After a disappointing start to our Champions League campaign with one point from our opening two games, the Blues have turned things around with back-to-back victories over AC Milan, following last week’s 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge with another triumph at San Siro.
That has taken us to the top of our group and back on course to progress to the knockout stages. Mount believes the importance of getting the win, as well as the Chelsea performance that produced it at such a difficult place to visit, should not be underestimated.
‘It was a massive win,’ he said. ‘We needed that, we needed a win, we needed a big performance after the last game at home and we managed to pull it off.
‘We knew going into the game at home a win was massive and vital for us and now to come away and play at the San Siro and to get another win, make it two in a row, is massive for our journey in the Champions League and it’s put us at the top now.
‘We showed great personality, a great mentality, to go there and perform, go 2-0 up and then control the second half.
‘To go there and win takes a lot. It doesn’t just take playing good football, you have to be mentally strong, because the fans obviously play a big part. When we were having good possession and were on top of them the fans helped them a lot. You have to deal with the crowd and we did that from the first minute.’
Mount went on to speak about our penalty, which was given after he was pulled back by his former Chelsea team-mate and fellow Academy graduate Fikayo Tomori when running towards goal, and admitted he felt some sympathy for his friend after he was shown a red card by the referee for that incident, as well as it allowing the Blues to take the lead from the spot.
‘He's obviously my mate, I’ve known Fik for a very long time and I felt for him in that situation, I was gutted for him. I don’t think it was a sending off. Was it a penalty? Maybe yes. I’m an honest player and I want to try to score a goal and he pulled me back a little bit but I feel for him for that decision. It’s a tough one.
‘I felt him trying to pull me back but I was running to goal so I wasn’t going to go down and I felt like I could still have an opportunity to score. So I carried on going, didn’t score and then obviously the ref blew up and gave a pen straight away. I was probably a bit surprised at the time because I’ve still gone through and had a shot.
‘It was hard to see him get sent off. You still want to be playing 11 v 11 and going at it with two good teams, so it maybe ruined the game a bit. It was massive for us and we obviously wanted to win the game, which we did, but I still feel for Fik a lot.’
In addition to being the man fouled to give us the penalty from which Jorginho opened the scoring in Milan, our No.19 then produced the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to extend our lead before half-time.
Adding to the two goals he set up against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday, it is clear the 22-year-old is hitting a rich vein of form, which he discussed as well as putting minds at rest by explaining there was no injury behind him being replaced with Conor Gallagher at half-time at San Siro, the reason being a card he received himself in the aftermath of the penalty.
‘I got a yellow and the manager didn’t want to risk a sending off as the ref was giving out a lot of cards. That was his decision at half-time,’ explained Mount.
‘I thought I played well, to be involved in the pen and the assist for the other goal. I was surprised at the end when I was given the Man of the Match, but the most important thing was that we won the game. It was a huge goal for us in this group to become the leaders at this moment and we’ve got two big games left. So it’s really positive and it’s looking good for us in the group.
‘I feel good. I’m enjoying it and we’re playing well and scoring goals, so that’s the most important thing. Hopefully next I get a goal because it’s been coming but I just haven’t finished it off yet. But I’ll take the assists, setting them up for my team-mates and I’m very happy for them today.
‘The manager has spoken to me about trying to get in the box and also connecting the midfield to the strikers and being able to move and be free and get assists and then get goals. It’s been happening for me over the last couple of games and I want more, I want to continue doing that and hopefully that will happen in the next few games too.’