Frank Lampard hailed his side for their stirring comeback against Ajax on Tuesday night, saying it promises a great future, writes Yann Tear.
The Blues looked dead and buried at 4-1 down but clawed their way back thanks to two red cards for the Dutch side and a bucket-load of determination to get back into the contest.
“The spirit that we showed and the character was something that I loved and I think our fans loved,” said the Chelsea boss.
“We need to tighten up for sure, but with that spirit, we can go places.
“I don’t want to compare to the past. Every Chelsea fan here today knows the stories that we had in the Champions League and the league.
What we have to focus on is what we have in front of us now, and for a performance like today, you need characters, personalities.
“At 3-1 down at half-time it’s easy to turn it in, even easier at 4-1 down and give it up, but we never did.”
Lampard praised his experienced players for driving the recovery but also half time sub Reece James.
The right back came on for Marcos Alonso and helped transform the mood before thumping in the equaliser to become the youngest Champions League goalscorer in Chelsea’s history.
“Reece is a fantastic young player and he gives what you saw,” Lampard said. “I think he can get much better because he’s 19 and that’s just normal, but I felt we needed the change to get a bit more for us on the right hand side.
“Reece can deliver crosses with great quality – he’s powerful and joins in. He’s going to be a top player for the club.
He’s got great quality and when you look at the model fullbacks and the things that are required – to join in and be a threat going forward, as some of the other full-backs are doing in the Premier League in an outstanding way, hopefully Reece can do it for us.”
Chelsea are now tied with Ajax and Valencia on seven points in their group with two to play.
“We certainly have a lot of work to do,” Lampard said.