Match-winner Tammy Abraham has said that his past experiences of being a defender were key to him being able to perform a heroic block to deny Barnsley’s Michael Sollbauer’s from grabbing a late equaliser during last night’s FA Cup clash at Oakwell.
Chelsea progressed to the last-eight of the competition for the fifth time in the last six seasons after Abraham netted the only goal of the game just past the hour mark, despite being given a run for their money by the Championship side.
Valerien Ismael’s side were dominant for long spells during the first half but struggled to take any of the chances that came their way.
However, they looked destined to cancel out Abraham’s opener when defender Sollbauer headed towards goal in the closing stages, only for Abraham to produce an heroic headed clearance.
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Whilst many would have been surprised to see the striker, who certainly took the opportunity handed to him by head coach Thomas Tuchel, produce such a brilliant defensive clearance, Abraham has admitted that his past experiences of playing as a defender was the secret.
“Well, I grew up being a defender, so it was an instinctive reaction being in there and being in the right place,” Abraham told BBC Sport. “Like I said, I saw the ball coming and I just said ‘I have to do this, I have to try something’ and it worked.”
Having scored the winner, Abraham, as a striker, would have been forgiven for saying that the goal was what he enjoyed most, but he has admitted that the defensive clearance meant more.
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Abraham continued: “Probably the goal-line clearance! We got the 1-0 win and coming here is never easy, so we will take that.”
On the victory overall, Abraham added: “Coming here is never an easy place. I have experienced it myself when I was in the Championship. Credit to them, they are a good side and we knew it would be hard.
“I knew that a chance was going to come and that I just had to be in the right place at the right time.”