THOMAS TUCHEL admitted it was ‘unfair’ to leave Mason Mount out in his first game as manager back in January.
It would be downright silly for the German to make the same mistake again.Mason Mount celebrated after giving his side the lead in the first-half[/caption] The in-form England star’s first-half strike gave Chelsea a potentially crucial away goal[/caption]
The kid who has been on the books at Chelsea since he was eight years old is now simply undroppable after yet another starring performance.
And nobody else is worthy of that tag in a hugely expensive team still trying to find its feet under a new coach.
The exquisite way in which he punched a hole in Porto’s granite defence with such elegance marked a new high for him and the perfect way for his team to respond to last weekend’s humiliation.
It is only fitting that in the two-legged shake up it will count double as an away goal even though the match was played on neutral territory in Seville.
For everything Mount does for Chelsea seems to be worth twice as much as on paper during his rapid emergence as the best all-rounder at the club and a shoe-in to become the next captain.
And if ever a short, sharp answer was needed to answer the absurd debate about Mount’s talent and worth on a football pitch it came in a three second burst during the first half last night.
Accepting a pinpoint pass from Jorginho with his back to goal, Mount used his left foot to drag the ball under his leg Cruyff style.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HEREChelsea celebrated taking a first-half lead, putting themselves in a strong position in the tie[/caption]
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With Porto’s left back still spinning to the ground in dismay, Chelsea’s most exciting young star took aim with his ‘weaker’ right foot and pulled a shot across the area and into the opposite bottom corner of the net.
On TV, Robbie Savage did his best to talk us through the move as if it was the sort of routine trick he pulled every week playing for Leicester.
But it was just as mind-boggling to hear it described.
It was a moment of class and a signal that Mount is now officially the man for the big nights which are the usual territory for a club with serious ambitions.
There is no reason why the most modest of midfielders cannot become a giant for Chelsea and follow in the footsteps of Didier Drogba, his mentor Frank Lampard and legendary skipper John Terry.
It is not a case of what does Mason Mount do anymore, rather what can’t he do?
He won the match for Chelsea at Fulham earlier this season on an evening they were battered from start to finish.
He dug out a point on a below par afternoon in Southampton some weeks later.Mason Mount scored his first-ever Champions League goal in true style[/caption] Chilwell had the simple task of tapping in Chelsea’s second following a defensive howler[/caption]
Even during Saturday’s 5-2 humbling at home against West Brom, Mount came off the bench on a day he was supposed to be resting, to score a consolation goal.
Mount turned 22 six days before that key Fulham victory. He was born just five months and one day before Kai Havertz.
But with the maturity of his football, Mount looks five years older.
Thrown up top as a false nine last night, he failed to find a way through whereas Mount got the one chance that came his way in the first half and tucked it away.
Mount was still gamboling around the pitch when Havertz and his equally ineffective countryman Timo Werner were substituted in the 65th minute, having both failed to make any impact.
The 32nd minute goal managed to settle Chelsea nerves too and ensure a solid if not spectacular performance on the night.
But considering Tuchel travelled to Spain with a clean sheet his top priority he will be well happy.
The defence was ripped apart from the weekend. Kurt Zouma, Marcos Alonso and Thiago Silva ditched. Rightly so in the case of the veteran Brazilian.Ben Chilwell celebrated after doubling Chelsea’s lead with five minutes to play[/caption]
How Jorginho survived his torrid performance against West Brom can only be down to injuries.
But he redeemed himself with the sublime through ball that helped put Chelsea firmly in command against the Portuguese champions.
The slow-motion way Ben Chilwell’s cool, calm run and rounding of the keeper ended with the ball rolling into the back of the net allowed time for the significance of a second away goal to sink in.
Porto are rugged however and it would be naive to write off the team that knocked out Juventus in the last round while playing with ten men.
But it is now Chelsea’s tie to lose.
With five changes last night to the team that crumbled against West Brom, which in turn had six changes to the game before that, it is clear Tuchel fancies the idea of squad rotation.
As long as it revolves around Mount it should be OK.
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