Christensen: Great to play on the big stage

Andreas Christensen has already sampled success at Wembley this season and the Danish defender is hoping for more happy memories at the iconic stadium when we play Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

The Blues go into our second consecutive FA Cup final aiming to put the disappointment of last season’s defeat to Arsenal behind us and lift the trophy for the eighth time in our history.

Christensen, who picked up the club’s Young Player of the Year award last week, made his first appearance at Wembley for the Blues when we beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in August, a positive memory for the 22-year-old and one he hopes to replicate this weekend.

‘That was my first start this season and we played a great game against Tottenham,’ Christensen recalls. ‘Just playing at Wembley makes you realise how massive the stadium is and even the pitch feels bigger. It’s a stadium which supports the whole event of a big final and it feels great to play there. You look up and realise how big it is, and the atmosphere is always good.

‘Growing up in another country, when you look at England there are so many competitions that it’s difficult to understand which is the most important, but once you move here you quickly find out which ones are the best and the FA Cup is a big one.’

 Christensen in action at Wembley, against Tottenham, earlier in the season.

There has been very little to choose between Chelsea and Manchester United in the two Premier League meetings between the teams this season, and Christensen produced a superb display against the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge in November when Alvaro Morata scored the only goal of the game.

‘I remember that game well,' he says, 'and it’s one of those experiences that you want to feel again. Azpilicueta set Morata up once again for a great goal.

‘Probably the same,’ he adds, when asked what type of encounter he anticipates on Saturday. ‘I’m expecting a tight game but hopefully it tips our way. They have a great team and so do we, which is what makes it such a huge game, but we enjoy the big matches and everyone is really looking forward to it. Hopefully we can end the season by winning an important trophy.’

Jose Mourinho will be the manager in the opposition dugout on Saturday, and it was the Portuguese who handed Christensen his Chelsea debut in a League Cup tie in 2014.

‘He gave me my first start against Shrewsbury Town and I just remember it was a case of always having to work hard in order to earn your spot in the side,’ Christensen explains.

‘I enjoyed that time. The club then gave me the opportunity to go out on loan, but if that hadn’t come up I would have been happy to stay because I liked the way we worked, it was good.

‘I remember the pitch was heavy and it was raining, it was a big battle. I played right-back because Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill were in the middle. I think it was Didier Drogba who scored the winning goal, but it was one of those cup games that you look forward to playing even though you know it’s going to be tough.’

 The defender is congratulated by Antonio Conte following an impressive display in our 1-0 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

In what has been his breakthrough season at the club, Christensen has already been rewarded for his performances on a personal level by picking up our Young Player of the Year award, and he explains what it would mean to bring the curtain down on the campaign by helping the team secure the FA Cup.

‘I was here when we won the Premier League and League Cup in 2015, but this time I would feel more of a part of it because I’ve been playing regularly,’ he says. ‘I did feel a part of it then because I was training with the squad all season but when you don’t play games regularly it’s not the same.

‘At that time, as a young player, I only played a few games so this would be the first trophy I’ve won where I’d really feel a big part of it.’