Caballero: We have ambition and an obligation

Willy Caballero has been ever-present in our run to the FA Cup semi-final and the goalkeeper is hopeful of playing his part in another win if selected for Sunday’s showpiece at Wembley.

It was Caballero who starred in the third round back in January, making a decisive save in the penalty shoot-out success after our replay against Norwich ended in a draw.

He then continued between the posts for the emphatic home victories over Newcastle and Hull City, and impressed in the hard-fought extra-time win at Leicester in the quarter-final which secured our place at Wembley. The keeper has reflected on our route to the national stadium and emphasised the squad’s desire to ensure it is not our last trip there this season.

‘For me and the team, we have good memories and moments,’ Caballero said.

‘One of these for me was the Norwich replay which I remember a lot. We went through by penalty shoot-out and in the last two or three years I have had good experiences in penalties. In this case you need a bit of luck to go through and we did it.

‘At Leicester we did another very good job as well. We have done pretty well in the FA Cup so far and we have to keep on this way.

‘This is a very important game after what we’ve done in the other competitions this season. We have to play it as a final. We are happy because all of our supporters are going to be at Wembley, but the most important thing is to ride to the final and win another trophy.

 Caballero saves from Norwich's Nelson Oliveira

‘Every time I walk around Cobham I see a lot of pictures of the team winning trophies, so for this we have the obligation and ambition to go for it,’ the 36-year-old added.

‘To finish the season playing a final and winning a trophy means we can finish well. The most important is to win again and put the name of our club on top again.’

Caballero has spent much of the season playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois, but he explains that he has relishes the competition and insists it has benefitted him over the long run. His performances recently earned him his maiden Argentinean international appearances.

‘To compete with great goalkeepers like Joe Hart, Claudio Bravo and Thibaut Courtois has made me stronger and a better goalkeeper.

‘Some keepers find this position uncomfortable, but I have been working really hard to achieve the level of this kind of keeper, and I feel stronger and better today.

‘If I just went to training and passed the days and weeks, this kind of easy position is not good for me. I have always fought to play and I try to do that with Thibaut every single day, and for this I have achieved a lot of good performance in the last few years.

‘I enjoy playing not just because it’s a cup, but because it’s a great achievement for me to be in a big team. Playing in the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup, the Premier League, every game is very important for me. To have this kind of opportunity after long years of fighting for this, I feel blessed. I try to enjoy every game and try to do my best to help the team.’

Southampton stand between us and a place in a second successive FA Cup final on May 19, and Caballero knows that despite their lowly league position they will be dangerous opposition, as they were in the league fixture only last weekend.

‘They have nothing to lose. We have more pressure because we are Chelsea. The only way is to play very concentrated like it’s a final, and not think about the other sides.

‘We want to go to Wembley just to play a game; we have to go to Wembley to win trophies, and the way to do that is by winning this game first.’