After winning the vote from Blues supporters as our outstanding individual performer once again this term, Chelsea Player of the Season Mason Mount reflects on another tumultuous campaign and what he’s added to his game to rack up even greater numbers…
It’s fair to say that Mount has packed an awful lot into his three seasons as a senior player at Stamford Bridge. As well as the highs of Porto, Belfast and Abu Dhabi, lifting silverware in the Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup respectively, there have been four agonising domestic cup final defeats.
The most recent of those saw the 23-year-old miss a decisive penalty in the shoot-out against Liverpool, a personal nadir in a season of overwhelming positivity and the latest in a run of three consecutive FA Cup final losses. For a young man who has never been shy in expressing his ambition to win football’s oldest cup competition, that afternoon at Wembley a fortnight ago was particularly painful.
Yet the trajectory of Mount’s Chelsea career has continued on an upward path this term, culminating in his presentation as our Player of the Season for the second campaign running. He ends 2021/22 with 160 appearances for the club to his name already, underlining his integral importance to the side, though while his game time has remained consistent over the past 36 months, his underlying numbers have improved steadily.
Mount’s goal involvements (goals and assists) in all competitions have jumped from 13 to 17 to 29 in the past three seasons. No player scored or assisted more in the Premier League this term for the Blues, his tallies in both categories taking him into a select group of five Chelsea players to have racked up double figures for both in a Premier League campaign.
It is his goal-creating in particular that has seen the sharpest rise in efficiency, from five assists in all competitions in 2019/20 to 16 this term, and Mount admits that area of his game has received specific attention.
‘It’s a massive focus of mine when I set goals at the beginning of a season,’ he explained about his numbers record. ‘I’ve always looked to do that and to get double figures in both is obviously very difficult. It’s not an easy thing to do so I’m pleased.
‘I focus in on where I can improve, which is the assists side, because I’ve naturally got goals in me. If I can get forward and arrive later into the box, as a midfielder I feel like I can score goals, if I’m working in training on the techniques as well.
‘Assists can be a bit harder at times. It helps when you take set-pieces because it’s a big part of the game. You always see people asking whether set-pieces are an assist or not, but when you put the ball in the right position for your team-mate to score then it’s an assist.
‘Nowadays when you look at the big, big games – the finals and semi-finals – how many goals are scored from set-pieces? It’s massive and it can have a big effect on the game, so I’ve focused on that and then just tried to add more assists as well.’
Reflecting on his individual accolade, Mount described it as ‘an unbelievable feeling’ and thanked the supporters for their backing during a challenging few weeks, as well as across the campaign as a whole. He has become only the 12th player since 1967 to claim the individual accolade on more than one occasion.
‘If someone had told me that in my first seasons I would win this award twice, I would never have believed them at all,’ he said.
‘It is a massive thank you to the fans because they are always behind me. It has been a difficult last couple of weeks for myself but with the support they have given, they keep pushing me.’
After admitting a year ago that our FA Cup final defeat to Leicester City had taken a big toll on him, our latest fall at the last hurdle was a significant setback for the young midfielder, extending his wretched Wembley record in finals to six straight losses.
Yet Mount remains an optimist as well as a big picture thinker and he points to our season as a whole, including two trophy triumphs on the international stage and a third-place Premier League finish with our highest points tally for five years, as evidence of progress amid a hectic schedule.
‘You look at how many games we’ve played this season and it’s not an excuse, but we’re in every competition, we mostly get to the end, so that makes it so that we’re playing extra games,’ he added. ‘It’s difficult but we have to keep going from game to game.
‘One week we’re playing away at Luton, the next we’re playing at Wembley. Then we’re at the Bernabeu, then we’re back at Wembley, before going away somewhere else! It’s a lot of games and a lot of travelling but it’s what we do. This is our job and we have nothing to complain about.
‘Throughout the season, it’s been up and down but if you look back at what we’ve achieved, we won the Super Cup at the beginning of the season and we won the Club World Cup in the middle of the season.’
It is worth remembering just how far Mount has come in the three years since his senior Blues debut back in August 2019, all that he has achieved, endured and improved.
A homegrown Cobham graduate who plays with passion, poise and an unrelenting desire for self-improvement has become a fan favourite and one of the first names on Thomas Tuchel’s teamsheet. This latest individual recognition is just the latest milestone in a career that goes from strength to strength.
-Mount's quotes for this interview are taken from the official matchday programme, which you can purchase online now.