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HomeSportsMadueke backs teammate Lavia to take Chelsea to next level

Madueke backs teammate Lavia to take Chelsea to next level


Noni Madueke believes Chelsea are starting to “take shape” under Mauricio Pochettino and has backed teammate Romeo Lavia to help take the team to another level next season.

Chelsea head into the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday with a chance of securing fifth place following four consecutive victories, which has given them the opportunity to finish a difficult campaign on a high.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Madueke said: “We’ve had some great results and some great performances as well. I feel like the team’s starting to really take shape.

“We’re starting to really play for each other, work hard for each other and just enjoy the games.

“That was the feeling I had in the last game especially that we were just enjoying ourselves and we have to try and keep this momentum going to finish the season strong and start the next season strong as well.”

Discussing Pochettino’s impact on his own game, Madueke said: “For me, I’d say he’s very real, very straight to the point. I think he wants to help you genuinely and he has this clear way of how he’s going to do that, which I admire about him.

“He’s helped me this season for sure from the start. If you look at where I was at the start to where I’m now in terms of my game. So he’s helped me a lot with developing a certain mentality in me that allows me to perform.”

Lavia joined Chelsea from Southampton in a £58 million ($74m) deal last August but the 20-year-old has made just one appearance — playing 32 minutes in December’s 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace — due to hamstring and thigh injuries.

He will also miss Sunday’s home game against Bournemouth.

“I don’t want say I feel like anyone’s going to be better than anyone else. However, I’m really excited to watch Romeo play next season. He’s got bags of ability and it’s been unfortunate for him this season being out for so long,” Madueke said.

“But I remember when he played Southampton, he was outstanding. So really excited to see him. He’s a top player and he just needs time. He’s been injured for a whole season. He’s still very young, so it’s not really about putting a lot of pressure on him, just letting him grow and develop at his pace, but he’s got elite talent and a good mindset as well.”

Madueke, a £30m ($38m) signing from PSV Eindhoven in January 2023, also cited the influence of Real Madrid winger Vinícius Júnior and Kylian Mbappéwho is set to join Madrid after leaving Paris Saint-Germain on a free this summer — among others in helping develop his own game after a positive end to the campaign in which he has registered two goals and two assists from the last five games.

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“The main [inspiration] of course was [Cristiano] Ronaldo, that’s probably when I was a bit younger, but Mbappé, Vinicius Jr., I watch those type of players and try and take bits from their game,” said Madueke. “Arjen Robben [too]. They are decisive. They win games on their own and they entertain crowds. That’s what I like to do as well.”

Chelsea will embark on a pre-season tour to the United States this summer with ESPN set to broadcast three of their games live including the opening game against Wrexham in Santa Clara on July 24.



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