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Tammy Abraham hails rise of Chelsea rookies after first Champions League goal
Four players who spent last season in the second tier started for the Blues in France.
Tammy Abraham feels that Chelsea’s rookies have come a long way in a short time after getting their Champions League campaign up and running.
Abraham scored his first goal among Europe’s elite as the Blues secured a crucial 2-1 win in Lille.
It was a far cry from last season when Abraham was on loan in the Championship with Aston Villa, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were at Derby and Reece James was with struggling Wigan.
All four academy graduates started in France on Wednesday night as Chelsea bounced back from their opening Group H defeat by Valencia.
“Me, Fikayo, Mason and Reece were talking before the game about last season, we were all in the Championship,” said Abraham.
“Reece was fighting against relegation, and now we’re in the Champions League, which has always been a dream. And to get that first goal is incredible.
“It was an unbelievable feeling – and it’s just the start. We’ve always believed one day we could be in the first team and we’ve made it happen.
“It’s credit to the manager and the staff for giving us the chance. It’s just the beginning and I think we’ll get better and better.”
Abraham celebrated his 22nd birthday with a 22nd-minute goal – a smart turn and finish in the area from Tomori’s cross.
Chelsea were pegged back by Victor Osimhen’s equaliser, but Willian volleyed in a late winner on his 300th Chelsea appearance.
“It was a fantastic birthday and what a way to celebrate, with a goal and three points,” added Abraham.
“It was massive, we knew we had to win and credit to the boys, those are the performances we need on away trips. It wasn’t easy but we defended well as a team and got the win.”