Saturday 7 December 2019

Chelsea star Abraham anticipating biggest game of his career

The Blues can reach the knockout stages with victory at Valencia.

Tammy Abraham is ready for what he thinks is the biggest match of his career so far (Martin Rickett/PA)
Tammy Abraham is ready for what he thinks is the biggest match of his career so far (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Nick Purewal, PA, Valencia

Tammy Abraham has admitted Chelsea’s pivotal Champions League at Valencia is the biggest game of his fledgling career.

The 22-year-old striker admitted playing in Europe’s top-tier club competition is “a dream come true”, but insisted he now has to treat it like his day job in order to thrive.

Abraham revealed he scours Youtube for clips of the world’s top strikers to steal elements of their play in a bid to reach his peak, ahead of Wednesday’s vital Mestalla showdown.

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Tammy Abraham is always looking for ways to improve his game (John Walton/PA)

Chelsea can secure safe passage to the knockout stages with a victory in Spain, but Valencia can do exactly the same – leaving Abraham well aware the pressure is on.

Asked if this is the biggest game of his career, Abraham replied: “I would say so, definitely, I would say so.

“It will be the biggest test of our nerves so far. We know coming here isn’t going to be easy. But we’ve got to stick together and leave it all out there.

“Before the first game against Valencia, Mason (Mount), Fikayo (Tomori) and I were warming up together and it didn’t feel real at that point, that we were all in the Champions League together.

“Hearing the Champions League music in the background; we were all in the Championship the season before. So it is a dream come true for us.

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Chelsea trio Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori were all playing in the Championship last season (John Walton/PA)

“I guess you have to take major strides. In my spare time I go on Youtube and watch all the best strikers in the world play in this competition, stealing their ideas and adding it to my game.

“I watch so many. Harry Kane, Aguero, Firmino, they are Premier League strikers obviously, but then there’s guys like Lewandowski and all sorts of players who have played in this competition before.”

Chelsea travelled to Spain without injured midfielder Ross Barkley, with boss Frank Lampard admitting the England star showed a “lack of professionalism” when pictured shirtless in a nightclub during the international break.

Barkley is battling back from ankle trouble, and while he still has his manager’s backing, Lampard was quick to challenge the 25-year-old to shape up.

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Chelsea and England midfielder Ross Barkley stands accused of being unprofessional (Nick Potts/PA)

“There are two separate issues, one is the headlines this week, Ross knows how I felt about the first headline,” said Lampard.

“I backed him then and I still back him now. But he showed a moment of a lack of professionalism as far as I’m concerned.

“It’s not something that I want to be a pure dictator about and come down hard on, because I also understand all my players are humans and have lives. So he just has to work his way back in, in terms of the fitness thing, and train well.

“I like Ross, he’s certainly one of my players. And he needs now to show all his reactions on the pitch.”

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