Derby can spring another cup surprise at Chelsea, says Huddlestone

Tom Huddlestone, who says Derby County have it in them to knock Chelsea out of the Carabao Cup. (PHOTO BY: Mark Fear)
Tom Huddlestone, who says Derby County have it in them to knock Chelsea out of the Carabao Cup. (PHOTO BY: Mark Fear)

Confident midfielder Tom Huddlestone says Derby County have it in them to cause another Carabao Cup upset against Premier League title-chasers Chelsea tomorrow night.

The Rams have already knocked out Manchester United after a superb performance and a thrilling penalty-shootout at Old Trafford.

Huddlestone says he knows Chelsea at Stamford Bridge will be difficult, but points out that Frank Lampard’s side dominated United in their own backyard for most of their Third Round tie, despite falling behind early on.

“It gave the team at the time a lot of confidence that we can go to one of the biggest stadiums and against one of the biggest teams in the world and perform,” Huddlestone said in his pre-match press conference.

“Wednesday night will be no different against a good Chelsea team who are unbeaten this season. We are going into the game full of confidence after the last three performances against Sheffield United, West Brom and Middlesbrough.

“Chelsea have a deep enough squad to change their whole team if they need to. But whichever 11 they put out, it will be a difficult test. They have a team full of internationals, so it will be tough. But it’s a game we have to relish.”

Huddlestone has cemented his place back in the side after three impressive displays since his reintroduction. He won the Sky Sports man-of-the-match award for his efforts in the impressive 4-1 victory at West Brom and has been an instrumental figure in midfield.

Huddlestone had previously endured a frustrating start to the campaign after suffering a pre-season injury. However, he is now back to full fitness and thriving in his role under Lampard.

He said: “The manager wants me to protect the back four and be the transition into the attacking five. It’s ideal for me.

“All the young lads are comfortable on the ball and what the manager has drilled into the players this season is their workrate without the ball. Everyone is buying into that, which is causing teams to make a lot more mistakes higher up the pitch.

“We have a nice mixture in the squad of experienced players who will not get carried away with the praise and, equally, if we lose a few games, we won’t get too disheartened with the criticism.

“The young lads are expressing themselves and being fearless, so they’re enjoying their football at the moment.

“It’s enjoyable to be a part of it. I give the lads little bits of advice but, as you have seen with their performances, the young players have been excellent so far this season.”