Charly Musonda felt a range of emotions before and during last night’s Carabao Cup victory, and he admitted he was in tears after he netted his first Chelsea goal on the landmark occasion of his full debut for the club.
Ahead of the game, Antonio Conte spoke about the 20-year-old’s considerable ability and said he could play either as a winger or in the number 10 role. Against Nottingham Forest he showed what he could do in the front three, regularly interchanging with Eden Hazard out wide, and sometimes moving closer to Michy Batshuayi in the centre.
After a thoroughly satisfactory 90 minutes, which included a maiden Chelsea strike, Musonda explained what was going through his head over the course of a memorable day.
‘It was my first start and it was very exciting,’ beamed the Belgian.
‘To be honest, I was more nervous before the game. I had to wait for so long for the game to start, a 7.45pm kick-off, so when the game started I was at ease and I felt really good.
‘I was looking forward to it. I come from the Academy and it was a great experience to be able to play my first game with the first team here at the Bridge, but it’s only the first game and I have to keep on working.’
Musonda, a late sub in our games against Arsenal and Burnley earlier this season, topped off an impressive first-half showing last night by finding the net shortly before the break. His celebration afterwards showed just how much it meant.
‘It was an emotional moment to score my first goal at the Bridge. I can’t even remember it now! I was very happy and you could see that. I was in tears to be honest. If the lads didn’t come and get me I don’t know what would have happened! It was a great moment.’
Musonda looked comfortable and confident throughout and was certainly not overawed by the occasion. By the end of the 5-1 victory, he had been joined on the pitch by some fellow youngsters, with Ethan Ampadu, Jake Clarke-Salter and Dujon Sterling getting their first taste of senior football at the Bridge. He acknowledged their impact, as well as those cheering them on in the stands.
‘It’s great to see young players coming on and the manager giving confidence to the young players. They did well and I am very happy for them.
‘The fans were great tonight,’ added Musonda. ‘They gave me an extra lift and I needed that. They were amazing.’