Just like last year, Mason Mount had to be patient before opening his account for the season, and just as then he marked the occasion by scoring more than one goal.
Mount broke his duck for 2022/23 with a well-taken brace against Aston Villa on Sunday, a predatory volley and superb free-kick showcasing the all-round goal threat he possesses but was yet to execute this term.
Last season Mount had to wait until his 11th appearance before scoring, eventually finishing with a hat-trick against Norwich. Yesterday was his 13th game of the current campaign, although he had got in the mood with a brilliant finish for England against Germany, and recorded four assists in the wins against Wolves and away to AC Milan prior to the success at Villa Park.
‘You never want to start the season without scoring for that long, but it happened to me last season, so I know how to deal with it,’ Mount said.
‘I don’t want it to happen, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I’m mentally strong, I stuck at it, and eventually in my head I’m thinking they’re going to come.
‘Last season when I scored my first goal I got two others in the game, and now I’ve got two. It was an enjoyable one. And the most important thing is that as a team we’ve been winning.’
Mount acknowledged our latest victory was far from the best performance of our flawless October thus far, but the manner in which we ground out the result showed another side to Chelsea’s game under new head Graham Potter, according to Mount.
‘We know we can do better, but we stuck it out, dug in and got the win. The gaffer says a lot we have got to suffer in games sometimes. We did that.
‘We know as players in the game we’re not going to have the ball for the whole game. We are playing against top opposition who are going to have the ball and have chances. We have got to suffer through those times. I felt like we did that in the first half.
‘The game didn’t feel right, but the most important thing was we came through and got into half-time 1-0. Then we can take a breather, speak, and see where we could change.
‘We came out second half, regrouped, changed a few things to see how we could have more possession and create chances,’ continued Mount.
‘The second half wasn’t as frantic. We had more control. They are always going to have chances - they’re at home throwing everything at us to get a goal - and these games away from home are never easy, but we came through it.’
One of the things Potter initially changed before the break was the repositioning of Mount into a deeper role. The no.19 would then move higher again in the second half, and such adaptability has long been an impressive facet of Mount’s game.
‘We changed formation and I changed position in the first half, going into the two in midfield as a six, trying to cope with what they were bringing,’ he explained.
‘You have to be versatile. This is my fourth year and over that period I have played loads of different positions. In the game, if you need to change, play left side, or right side, or drop into midfield and play as a false nine or 10, I need to be ready to do that. That’s the whole team, not just me. It’s a big strength of the team players can do that.’
One of those players brought on at half-time to help the stem the tide was Cesar Azpilicueta. Following the news Reece James will be out for around eight weeks, the skipper is likely to play an even more crucial role before the World Cup.
‘Reecey’s been absolutely brilliant this season,’ acknowledged Mount.
‘He’s stepped up. He’s one of the best players in the team. To see that happen to him, and as a very close friend of mine, it’s gutting, and you know what’s coming up as well. It’s a big loss for us.
‘We have to step up. What Azpi did coming on was unbelievable. As a captain he steps up, he had a massive impact off the bench.
‘We’re such a strong team, we have to stay together through these tough periods. We know injuries are going to happen with the amount of games we are playing. That’s when the squad comes into it. We’re all together, that’s what the gaffer really goes on about. We need to stay together because we’re going to need everyone.’