Malo Gusto interview: Liverpool will face a different Chelsea in Carabao Cup final

Malo Gusto says Liverpool will face a different Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final, with success capable of becoming a catalyst for future glory.

Chelsea have struggled to find consistency in the Premier League and, after finishing 12th last season, are only in 10th place with two-thirds of the season played. But the Carabao Cup has given Chelsea hope of winning silverware just eight months into Mauricio Pochettino’s reign.

Gusto, 20, is showing promise at Chelsea and believes winning Sunday’s final at Wembley Stadium would help the club on their journey for greater success.

“I have a big chance, and the team as well [has a big chance], to win a trophy early in the season,” Gusto told Standard Sport. “I think it can be nice for our mentality to help us become better until the end of the season. It is very important for us to take this opportunity to keep pushing during the season.

Malo Gusto has impressed in captain Reece James’ absence (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Malo Gusto has impressed in captain Reece James’ absence (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“The season is not finished. We have to keep working, sticking together, and keep this mentality. Keep pushing to show to the fans that we are Chelsea – and we need to win everything. After this game, it's not finished.

“We have to win this trophy for us and the fans because they are waiting a lot for this team, but this trophy can be important for everyone for the rest of the season and the club."

After losing 4-1 away at Anfield one month ago, it felt like the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital-owned Chelsea were again falling into crisis mode.

But back-to-back away wins at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace followed by an impressive draw away at Manchester City have again changed the mood.

When asked whether Jurgen Klopp's side now face a different force than they did last month, Gusto added. “I think so, yes. Now we know how they play, move and use their players. It was good to play against them five games ago and we are ready.

“We have to take the opportunity. We don’t have a choice. We have to win every game.”

“After that game, we stuck together on the training ground or in defensive or offensive actions [on the pitch]. I think it is just about mentality. That’s what we have had in the last three games, and I think that's why we played better, and we have to keep it.”

Chelsea have impressed without 39-year-old Thiago Silva in the backline, with Gusto excelling alongside Axel Disasi, Levi Colwill and Ben Chilwell in the back four. They were part of a starting XI that averaged just over 23 years in age at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, but Gusto, as the youngest, says youth can’t be used as an excuse.

“We have to take the opportunity,” he continued. “We don’t have a choice. We have to win every game. We are young, but that is not an excuse. We have a lot of quality and we want to win everything — we are Chelsea.”

Gusto knows what Chelsea is. Despite growing up in Decines-Charpieu, next door to former club Lyon's stadium, he idolised Didier Drogba and watched Chelsea with his football-loving father on TV.

That's why he jumped at the chance to make his £26.3million move last January despite knowing he would have to battle captain Reece James, who is currently injured, to play in his favoured right-back position.

“When I was younger, I loved this club and my dad as well, and maybe that’s why I’m here today,” he continued. “I wasn’t thinking about what could happen [with James]. I just wanted to take my chance."