Olivier Giroud has expressed his delight at breaking his goalscoring drought for Chelsea, citing hard work, faith and a great cross from teammate Emerson as crucial in doing so.
Giroud’s 52nd-minute header was the difference in the Blues’ match against BATE Borisov in the Europa League and it proved more crucial as it took the west London club through to the knockout stages of Europe’s second-tier club competition.
The 32-year-old forward lamented his side’s lack of ruthlessness in front of goal that left them open to a comeback from the Belarussians yet expressed his relief at his side gaining maximum points, which could prove crucial in their quest to finish first in the group as they enter the knockout stages.
“When you don’t succeed in scoring from the chances you created you always expose yourselves to a comeback from the opponent,” said the World Cup winner. “They played with a very deep block in the first half and it was difficult for us to find solutions between the lines and spaces in behind.
“At the end of the day we are happy with the three points because we want to finish first but we played a very good team. They had great team cohesion, they defended all together and they were dangerous on the counterattack.”
It was the Frenchman’s first strike for Chelsea since May when he headed the winner against Liverpool towards the end of last season. Having gone 794 minutes without hitting the back of the net, including his goalless run towards World Cup glory with France in the summer, the Blues forward has expressed his pleasure at ending his barren spell, citing hardwork, belief and a pinpoint cross from teammate Emerson as crucial in having done so.
“I was hoping to score soon because I came back late from the World Cup and I was lacking maybe a bit of efficiency and luck, but you always need to keep working hard and keep the faith and that’s what happened,” added Giroud. “It was a good cross from Emerson and that’s what we need to do more often.”
“The manager kept saying we need to qualify from the group, and the earlier the better, so we’ve done the job even if we could have been more efficient. It’s a clean sheet and we won the game.”