Mason Mount has admitted that Chelsea’s loss to Bayern Munich made him more determined to reach the level of players like Thiago Alcantara, who he says he ‘couldn’t get near’ during last campaign’s Champions League tie.
The 21-year-old played every minute over the two legs as the blues were outclassed in a 7-1 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich, the eventual winners of the Champions League.
Mount says Thiago’s outstanding display came as a reality check and made him understand exactly what level he needs to take his game to compete with the best.
Quizzed on whether he had played against anyone who made him think, ‘Wow, this guy is on another level’, Mount told SPORTbible: ‘The Champions League is on another level. The games feel different.
‘Bayern have some unbelievable world-class players… Lewandowski, [Joshua] Kimmich and Thiago in midfield, I just couldn’t get near him.
‘They moved the ball around the team so quickly. When you’re up against players like that you’re thinking, “How are we going to stop this?” ‘It was a big moment, it opened my eyes. It made me realise, “This is the next level, this where you need to be” and I am determined to work hard and reach that level.’
Mount continued: ‘The Bayern team have been together for a very long time, they know each other inside out and they’re all world-class players that have played hundreds of games; World Cups, Euros, big Champions League finals.
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‘They’ve been through it all so they had a big advantage over us younger boys. Obviously it’s difficult to take a loss, but when you go through a game like that you learn so much, you learn so much more than if you win 3-0.
‘It was a tough lesson, but we’ve taken so much from that experience and we’ll come back stronger.’
Thiago’s appearance in the Champions League final may well be his last for Bayern Munich, as he seeks a looks for a new challenge ahead of the 2020/21 season.
The midfielder has reportedly agreed personal terms over a transfer to Anfield and Liverpool are now in negotiations with Bayern to discuss a price.