Assistant first team coach Steve Holland was able to talk about the promising signs from two notable results in quick succession, with the cup win at Arsenal coming hard on the heels of the league triumph over Manchester City.
With 10 changes to the starting line-up between the games, there could be no better example, he explained, of the way hard work in training is aimed not just at the next 11 players to be fielded, but at the squad as whole so all players can slot in as needed. And that needs a good attitude from the players to succeed.
Tuesday evening’s victory at the Emirates showed that, and came courtesy of Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal midway through the first half, and then a fine Juan Mata strike in the second half…
‘Jose [Mourinho] asked when he addressed the players before tonight’s game to be given selection problems for the game this coming weekend,’ reported Holland.
‘He wants headaches and he wants everyone to be playing well when given the chance, and that was the case tonight, the players responded to that.
‘It has been a satisfying three days. The objective at Chelsea is always to compete in all the competitions, and given that we had to play this with only one day between the games, and it gave us no option than to use the full squad, and every player in the squad deserves great credit for their performance in the last three days.
‘Arsenal and Man City will be competing for major honours this season and to win both games is particularly satisfying, and we are in a good place at the moment.’
Azpilicueta scored his first Chelsea goal and the strike bears strong comparison with Fernando Torres’s winner against Man City given the way the opposition defence contributed…
‘It goes to show the benefit of willingness and competitive attitude, and a player who is prepared to chase a lost cause to create some doubt,’ said Holland. ‘Fernando benefitted on Sunday and that is the spirit and mentality you are looking for from all your players all around the pitch, putting the opposition under pressure to see if mistakes occur.
‘Cesar is a very popular member of the squad because he is a nice lad and a model professional.’
Juan Mata’s goal was his first of the season and one to remember…
‘We have seen that from him many times before and it is not surprising to see him produce great moments of quality, but it is perhaps a surprise to see him do it with his right foot,’ said Holland.
‘It was another fantastic moment. We need a squad to compete in all the competitions and what appears to be the preferred starting team at the moment won’t be the team that is preferred in January, and that team will be different again in March, April and May.
‘We need everybody and on the back of Man City, it was a great example of the players showing they are ready for the challenge and if that continues, there is no reason why we shouldn’t have a successful season.’
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw positive and negatives in his team’s display but lamented mistakes made as the main cause for defeat…
‘When you give the first goal away you give yourself a mountain to climb, particularly against a team that defends well and is good in counter attack,’ he said. ‘We also didn’t create enough chances.’