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Chilwell praises Chelsea’s resilience in victory over Brentford

Ben Chilwell says Chelsea showed the mentality they will need for success this season as they held off an intense late push from Brentford to return to the top of the Premier League.

England left-back Chilwell’s first-half goal – his third in three games for club and country – was enough to win the west London derby, but only thanks to some strong defensive work as the Bees piled on the pressure in the closing stages.

After Liverpool had gone top by thrashing Watford earlier on Saturday, Thomas Tuchel’s side responded in the day’s late game with a mature and dogged display against their promoted hosts.

The European champions dominated the first half but had to dig deep to secure the three points in the first league meeting between the two clubs in 74 years.

“The last 20 minutes, we showed the mentality we need to be showing all season,” Chilwell said.

“It was hell on Earth, the last 20 minutes, but we did pretty well.”

The outcome would have been different had Brentford forward Bryan Mbeumo scored instead of twice hitting the Blues woodwork either side of Chilwell’s winner.

In a frantic final 15 minutes where Brentford threw everything at their opponents, Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy had to make two important and brave saves, while Blues defender Trevoh Chalobah also cleared off the line.

Senegal international Mendy also tipped over an acrobatic effort from Bees midfielder Christian Norgaard in injury-time, sealing a victory which the Blues keeper celebrated wildly with his team-mates at the final whistle.

“In the end, the last 20 minutes were suddenly a cup game and they had nothing to lose,” said Tuchel.

“They found momentum and it felt like we had one player less. They played with more belief and we focused too much on defending.

“I was happy with the first 65-70 minutes and we should have scored more. But respect to Brentford.”

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Essien really helped me as a player – Mikel Obi reveals

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 17: Michael Essien of Chelsea celebrates scoring his goal with John Obi Mikel during the Pre Season Friendly match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on July 17, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Former Chelsea midfielder, Mikel Obi has named Ghanaian and former Chelsea midfielder, Michael Essien as a player who was integral during his stay at the club.

Mikel revealed that Essien, who was nicknamed The Bison for his midfield qualities, was a source of learning and inspiration. He explained that Essien always described him [Mikel] as a good player.

To Mikel, the comments of Essien enabled him grow in confidence.

“Michael Essien really helped me. Michael always told me I was a good player and just reminded me to bring the ball down, control and pass.

“If you need to dribble, dribble. If you don’t need to, just pass. You are strong. You are fast, too. If you can, just push the ball past and run, run, run because they cannot catch you.

“He was the guy who really helped me and made me have a lot of confidence,” Mikel said in an interview.

Mikel who joined Chelsea in 2006, made a total of 372 appearances for Chelsea, and lifted the Premier League title twice and the 2012 UEFA Champions League title.

He indicates that signing for Chelsea was a move which exposed him to lots of stars one could only dream of.

“Suddenly, I was sharing a dressing room with all these players I had watched on television back in Africa,” Mikel told The Athletic.

“I was sitting next to Lassana Diarra. I would be there thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s Didier Drogba. It’s Frank Lampard. It’s John Terry’,” Mikel said.