Our Under-21s will be looking to build on an impressive 5-0 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers when we welcome Liverpool to Griffin Park on Friday night, a game which can be seen live on Chelsea TV, and manager Dermot Drummy believes we will need to be at the top of our game in order to secure back-to-back wins.
Having opened the new campaign with a goalless draw against Manchester City, the match against Wolves was a good chance to get a first win under our belt, and after Lucas Pinzon had given us a first-half lead, we turned in an accomplished, ruthless display which the visitors simply couldn’t live with.
‘The whole occasion pleased me,’ Drummy tells the official Chelsea website. ‘Playing at the Bridge with the fans there, the players enjoyed it, you could see that, and the staff enjoyed being there as well.
‘To put in a performance like that against a good side was really pleasing. I saw Wolves draw against Liverpool, and we really had to perform well to get that result. To get young players such as Jeremie Boga and Fankaty Dabo on was a bonus as well.
‘We’re keeping clean sheets, which is obviously a good thing, and Jamal Blackman’s performing well, so it’s been a good start so far.’
This season, the young players have the opportunity to play in front of larger sized crowds than they had previously been accustomed to.
Over 3,000 supporters were present for the game against Manchester City, while there was another good turnout for the Wolves game at Stamford Bridge, something which makes the whole concept mutually beneficial, both for the players and supporters, as the manager explains.
‘It just gives them experience which they normally wouldn’t get,’ he says. ‘The best hope these players have at the moment is performing in the Capital One Cup.
‘Lucas Piazon is playing very well and training with the first team on a regular basis, but any time we can play at Stamford Bridge is massive, and it also gives the fans the chance to come along to the ground and see some of our younger players in action.’
Four points from our opening couple of fixtures is a decent return, but Liverpool are expected to provide a sterner test of our credentials than Wolves were able to a couple of weeks ago.
Under the stewardship of Rodolfo Borrell, a former Barcelona coach, the Merseysiders play an attacking brand of football, and Drummy, having watched them in action only a few weeks ago, is aware of the threat they will pose.
‘I went to watch them when they played Crystal Palace with Ed Brand, a young coach who’s working with us,’ he says.
‘They’re a good side; we were well beaten there last season. They play 4-3-3, which is similar to us, they have very good players and are an attack-minded side, so I think it will be a fantastic game.
‘Their coach is very well-respected, they play good football and work really hard so it will be a very tough match.’
The new-look league, in terms of results, has started in a positive manner for the Blues, but it’s not just on a match day where the attitude of the players has given their manager reason to be optimistic.
‘I can only say at the moment that the whole feel of the league is so different to last year,’ says Drummy. ‘I don’t think we’ve had a flat training session yet, which means the boys are up for it every day. They’re looking at the fixtures and they want to play in these games.
‘The link with the first team is fantastic. They know Steve Holland is coming to watch, Robbie [Di Matteo] was watching the friendly against Charlton last week, so there’s a feel-good factor around at the moment.’
Chelsea Under-21s v Liverpool is live and exclusive on Chelsea TV from 7pm on Friday 14 September.
Supporters wishing to attend the game can purchase tickets on the night from Griffin Park, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors.