As a lot as the main target has been on the Chelsea youth this season, Frank Lampard would be the first to tell you that the older, extra skilled gamers have been simply as essential to the crew’s success.
A lot was anticipated of these within the squad who have been in or close to their primes particularly, and several other of them delivered as effectively. Mateo Kovačić, whose mortgage from Actual Madrid was made everlasting final summer season, has been chief amongst these, with a reliable declare on being our Participant of the Season, even.
He could not have hit his statistical targets — simply the 2 objectives (his first two in three years!) and three assists — however that simply means he has one thing concrete to try in direction of by way of private improvement.
“I’m pleased with my performances. I believe I’ve had a superb season and I’ve settled effectively in my second yr. Clearly I’m lacking the statistics, which is the factor missing in my sport in the intervening time, however I’m bettering on that as effectively.
“I really feel nice right here, so completely satisfied and honoured to be at this nice membership. Now I must pay it again on the pitch, to be higher and higher each season, and hopefully subsequent season is even higher for us than this one.”
Kovačić, nonetheless simply 26, has gained a trophy in every of his earlier 4 seasons, relationship again to the primary of three Champions Leagues in a row with Actual Madrid in 2015-16, and now he needs so as to add the FA Cup to final yr’s Europa League title as effectively.
“It is going to be very nice to be in one other closing. Probably the most stunning factor in soccer is to play finals after which to win them. Chelsea is used to successful titles so we are going to do every thing we will to play a superb match within the FA Cup closing after which let’s see what occurs.”
-Mateo Kovačić; supply: Chelsea FC
It was a barely much less constructive season (by way of particular person performances) for Antonio Rüdiger, who was set to be the elder statesman of the protection following David Luiz’s departure, however failed to really set up himself because of accidents and inconsistent type. And whereas he’s simply as pleased with the place Chelsea have ended up as anybody else, he’s far much less completely satisfied along with his personal performances.
“For me personally, to begin with I don’t need to give any excuses. It has been a tricky season with every thing happening. Simply within the performances, there have been some good video games and in addition dangerous video games. It has been up and down.
“Me, personally with my season, I’m not that completely satisfied. However on the finish of the day as a collective, we achieved our objectives and that is what issues. We nonetheless have two video games to go and that is what I’m centered on. All the pieces else I’ll analyse myself and go on to subsequent season.
“If I replicate on the way in which we needed to get to this closing, it was robust. The season was robust for everybody. I had accidents, the coronavirus pandemic, it was actually tough. However we’re there now and we need to do every thing to win that trophy.”
The crew’s defensive woes lengthen effectively past anyone participant — as does any potential resolution to them — however Chelsea do have the gamers and the expertise to win at the moment, if we will put it collectively like we now have on a number of events this season.
“It’s undoubtedly one thing we have to work on. I believe it has extra to do with consistency. On our day, sure, we will beat everybody. Then when it’s not our day, we will additionally lose towards everybody. That is the steadiness we now have to search out.
“It’s like life, to search out the objective within the center is tough generally. It’s one thing we now have to work on. We’re conscious of that, I’m conscious of that. We nonetheless have two video games for this season and we now have to complete them on a excessive.”
The final time we have been within the FA Cup closing, Rüdiger was named Man of the Match as we beat Manchester United, 1-Zero in 2018. A repeat of that type of efficiency will surely not go amiss at the moment.
“That is what I anticipated once I got here right here to Chelsea, to play for titles. For me, I don’t see this as a small cup — a title is a title. If I’m there I need to win.”
-Antonio Rüdiger; supply: Goal
So say all of us.