Tuchel on how best to manage Lukaku

‘He is a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy that he wants to win these things. I know how much he wanted to have a good outcome for a European Championship with Belgium and now again in the Nations League, which was a huge match for him personally as it means a lot to him to play for his country, so he takes it really seriously.

‘If that doesn’t work well, he always takes it on his shoulders, thinks about it and reflects and I feel he is mentally tired. Not hugely so that we have a concern, but for me he is not fully enjoying it without having second thoughts.

‘It is difficult to judge. Does he really need a break, or is it better to keep him on the pitch? The next national break is coming but this is what I feel particularly for him, and some other players too.’

Chelsea tributes at Malmo and Norwich games

Our Premier League home game against Norwich comes the day after the 25th anniversary of Harding’s death in a helicopter crash while travelling back from a League Cup game away at Bolton Wanderers. His fellow passengers Ray Deane, Tony Burridge, John Bauldie and Mick Goss also lost their lives in the tragedy.

Before kick-off against Norwich there will be a minute’s applause in honour of Harding, a Chelsea supporter who became heavily involved with the club and played a significant role in helping to finance the reconstruction at the north end of Stamford Bridge, which was renamed the Matthew Harding Stand following his death.

His financial investment in the club also helped us to sign players but he was lost to us before he could see his beloved Blues win silverware in the form of the FA Cup, later that season of the Bolton game. 

Andy Myers on building ‘confidence’ for the games ahead and his praise for Lewis Baker

Myers said that despite the positive results there is always room for improvement, adding:

‘The experience of having to be focused all game is invaluable for the boys. We must score a lot more from the the opportunites that we create, there are situations where you can be punished for not finishing off chances, so we must work on that.

‘The target for this group is to keep on learning, taking all the objectives and aspects from the last two games, in fact all games and using it to improve as a player and becoming a stronger, better team. It is these experiences that will shape you as a player and no matter their pathway into senior football, we want our boys to be ready.’

Gutting it out – hard-earned 1-0 wins

Thomas Tuchel’s side had to dig deep at the Brentford Community Stadium to preserve the lead given to us by Ben Chilwell just before half-time with Edouard Mendy producing a string of fine saves late on to ensure we won the west London derby.

However, grinding out three points against determined opponents in a tricky away fixture highlights the doggedness of the Blues to get a result in difficult circumstances and has often laid the foundation for success in our league-winning campaigns.

Blackburn Rovers – February 2005

Arjen Robben put Chelsea on course for an eighth straight league win and an 11-point lead in the table when fired us ahead after only five minutes at Ewood Park but when the Dutch winger was taken off injured after a poor challenge soon after, the game devolved into a tempestuous scrap.

Blackburn tried to rile the Blues with high-tempo pressing and feisty challenges which resulted in heated exchanges between both sets of players as the match threatened to boil over. However, Petr Cech superbly stopped a penalty by Rovers’ instigator-in-chief Paul Dickov as we repelled everything the home side could throw at us to claim a crucial 1-0 win.

The sight of several Blues walking off the pitch bare-chested in chilly conditions after throwing their shirts to fans in the away end following the final whistle epitomised the team’s battling spirit as we went on to keep 10 clear sheets in a row and claimed our first league title for 50 years.

Black History Month: Chelsea players before Paul Canoville

‘From the legends of talent which have followed him from north to south he is going to put a lot of colour into Chelsea football,’ the article starts. ‘His name is Hanley. They found him playing great stuff for Skelmersdale, [a] club near Liverpool.

‘Take Hanley out of his studded boots and he still tops six feet. His husky-shouldered build carries his height perfectly, and when he smiles, which is often, he smiles wide. Hanley is grateful to Chelsea. Because when the future seemed to stop at monotony of the daily shores in Liverpool, Chelsea invited him to step up into fame.

‘You see the point of Hanley’s appreciation: some clubs have a colour bar.

‘But Chelsea have always been broad-minded. Provided the talent is there, so long as a player can be expected to behave reasonably, Chelsea will stand out against any bias.’

The ‘colour bar’ point is well made, and not just in football. Nine years, earlier in 1929, the National Sporting Club had created Rule 24 which forbid any boxer from becoming a British champion except those with ‘two white parents’. That particular bar was not raised until 1948.

Although there may have been black or mixed heritage players at Stamford Bridge in the past, Hanley was almost certainly the first black professional on the books at Stamford Bridge. Like each of his successors up until the 1980s he was also the only person of colour in the squad. For him ‘minority’ was not just a political banding but a stark, everyday reality.

‘I expect much from Hanley,’ then Chelsea manager Leslie Knighton told the Express. ‘I can see him shaping into one of the great personalities of the game.’

The paper hailed the youngster as ‘the most interesting Chelsea signing of the close season’. That was despite Knighton forking out the second-highest transfer fee of the summer for left-winger Alf Hanson who, coincidentally, was the player Hanley loved to watch at Anfield as a boy.