It was not just Frank Lampard celebrating an important win for his young side in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, just across the road from the Johan Cruyff Arena at the distinguished Ajax Academy, our Under-19s battled hard to claim three points over their Dutch counterparts in the UEFA Youth League.
The victory was significant as the young Blues had just one point on the board coming into the contest, with qualification for the knockout round starting to slip away from them.
Thierno Ballo’s header from a corner routine inside two minutes was enough to settle the group game and boss Andy Myers reflected afterwards on an impressive defensive performance just lacking a more ruthless streak in attack that would have cemented a more comfortable final scoreline.
‘Based on the previous two games, we knew that we needed a win,’ he told the official Chelsea website. ‘We were spot-on defensively and it was just at times in the final third that our technical consistency wasn’t there when we needed that killer pass to put the game to bed.
‘We had opportunities to do well on the counter-attack but just let ourselves down a little with a lack of quality. The overall reflection is we’ve come away to Ajax and won, which not many teams will do, in a game we needed to win, especially with Lille beating Valencia in the other game.’
The matchday three results in Group H of the Youth League leave Myers’s men third, trailing Ajax and Lille by two points. He still feels our defeat in France and 3-3 draw with the Spaniards at Cobham were harsh results on the balance of play in both games, although more positive signs in the Dutch capital were pleasing.
‘We came away from those games disappointed because we knew we should have put both teams away,’ he continued. ‘Against Valencia, we had clear-cut chances in the first half to win and at Lille we dominated so much possession and gave away two goals, which was poor.
‘There were aspects of our game today [against Ajax] at the back that were really good and aspects going forward on the break that were pleasing, apart from the execution of our final ball.’
Myers praised the set-piece work of his coaching staff, which came off with the only goal of the game, as well as the grit of his players to dig in for the remaining 88 minutes to secure the points.
‘Jon Harley and Eric Ramsey [assistant coaches] have ownership of the set-plays so credit to them,’ added Myers. ‘Ballo came in at the near post with a great header and then, when you score that early away from home, you’ve got to make sure you’re ready for the rest of the game.
‘It’s not an easy place to come to do that but we really did well defensively. As much as they had a lot of possession, we nullified them to just one shot on our goal and Karlo Ziger did well to save that.’
Next up is a rematch with Ajax at Cobham in a fortnight. Before then, our development squad head to Everton in Premier League 2 this Saturday 26 October.