Sleepless Chelsea youths have Munich on their minds
Chelsea Reserves manager Dermot Drummy was hoping Lucas Piazon and his teammates would be playing with a smile on their faces today at the HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens.
'Yes, the boys will be up watching the match in their rooms while we [team officials] will be down in the bar having a few cups of coffee. Hopefully they will have a big smile on their faces tomorrow,' said Drummy with a gleam in his eye as he looked forward to the Champions League final between the senior Chelsea team and Bayern Munich (early this morning, Hong Kong time).
Plans had been made, calls had been made to the hotel (Excelsior) reception desk to check if the match was being shown live, and there was an air of anticipation yesterday evening as Chelsea's youth team booked their place in the quarter-finals of the main competition. All thoughts were with their seniors in Munich.
'Yes, I will be definitely getting up to watch the game,' said Piazon as he hurried to the dressing room after his side's 2-1 victory over the HKFA Lions.
Unlike Drummy, who has been manager of the Chelsea Academy since 2009, Piazon's links with the Blues are still new. The Brazilian, 18, joined Chelsea during the summer transfer window in 2011, moving from Sao Paulo for a reported ? million (HK$61.3 million) which could eventually rise up to ?0 million due to various clauses in the contract.
Drummy believes the Brazilian youth international will soon be rubbing shoulders with the big boys. 'Lucas has already been on the bench. He is a very exciting player and has been on the fringes of the senior team,' Drummy said. 'We have a pathway for promising players who have the right attitude and he is definitely one of those.'
Piazon showed a glimpse of his talent yesterday, scoring the only goal in the win over a Yau Yee League Select, and playing the provider for Aziz Deen-Conteh's opening goal in the 2-1 win over the HKFA Lions.
'Coming to Hong Kong is a great experience for the boys. Chelsea are branching out globally,' Drummy said. 'Playing in a different time zone is a great experience for them.'
Unfortunately, it also meant having to break rest last night. Whether Chelsea will go on to win the Sevens remains to be seen - Aston Villa with their dreadlocked striker Daniel Johnson look a threat - but one thing is certain: there will be a lot of sleepy heads today.
'We have tried to accommodate for that by pushing the quarter-finals of the main Cup back as late as possible. It will give them some time to sleep in,' said Tony Bratsanos, chairman of the organising committee.
The amount Chelsea paid Brazilian club Sao Paulo for exiting forward Lucas Piazon