After breaking the deadlock in Baku with a real centre-forward’s finish, Olivier Giroud spoke about finishing as the Europa League’s top scorer and his move to Chelsea paying off.
That it was Giroud who opened the scoring was fitting. Prior to kick-off no player had scored more goals than him in the competition this season; his magnificent header shortly after half-time not only separated the sides for the first time on the night, it also put him ahead of Luka Jovic as the Europa League’s top marksman in 2018/19.
‘I am proud of that,’ beamed Giroud.
‘I have had a lot of game-time in the Europa League this year and I always try to just step up and do my best for the team. I am the happiest man in the world.
‘It was a good cross from Emerson and I made a run to the front post. It was a nice header and I have to thank my team-mates for helping me to score those goals.’
Giroud admitted his goal in the Baku showpiece was made even more special because it came against his former club. In the 18 months he has spent at Chelsea since moving from the Emirates to Stamford Bridge, the Frenchman has won an FA Cup and now a Europa League, as well as starting every game for his nation in their victorious World Cup campaign last summer.
‘It was an improvement going from Arsenal to Chelsea and I knew I would have the opportunity to win some more trophies,’ Giroud said. ‘To win this Europa League one year after winning the World Cup is great for me.
‘I’m a Blue, a proper Blue. It’s a new chapter of my career and it was very special to score. I am so proud of this team.
‘I’m 32, nearly 33, but I feel like there is more and more to come. I am still hungry and I am looking forward to next year: playing in the Champions League and fighting for more titles.’