The unseen moment Reece James showed why he is Chelsea captain in dramatic Carabao Cup victory

Reece James didn't play against Newcastle, but that didn't stop him from having an impact.
Reece James captaining Chelsea before his injury. Credit: GettyReece James captaining Chelsea before his injury. Credit: Getty
Reece James captaining Chelsea before his injury. Credit: Getty

Chelsea skipper Reece James may not have been fit enough to play, but he still showed why he is captain of the Blues.

Mauricio Pochettino's men were behind for much of the Carabao Cup quarter final after Callum Wilson gave Newcastle a lead in the 16th minute. The striker capitalised on a trio of mistakes from Chelsea defenders and slotted home the opener.

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Chelsea pressed on for an equaliser, with Raheem Sterling particularly profligate in front of goal. Then in added time, Kieran Trippier misjudged a header and Mykhailo Mudryk slotted home the equaliser.

The tie went straight to penalties after at full-time. And this was when James showed his class. Despite being out with a hamstring injury, the Chelsea captain was out on the pitch before the spot kicks.

He made a beeline for inexperienced goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic and had a long conversation with him. This was only the 24-year-old's second ever appearance for the Blues, and he must have been nervous. James gave the stopper a hug and a pat on the back and that confidence appears to have carried into the shootout.

Petrovic made himself big in front of Trippier, and despite the Newcastle right-back's penalty pedigree he shot wide. The Serb then dived acrobatically to keep out Matt Ritchie's spot kick, and win the tie for Chelsea.

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James may be beset with injury problems, but he still makes sure he can have an impact on games. Going over to the young keeper and giving him confidence ahead of the shoot out is exactly what a captain should do.

After the match, Mauricio Pochettino told reporters he was delighted with the team spirit from injured players like James. They were all on the pitch at full time helping get the squad ready for penalties. Pochettino said: "I am so pleased because when you see the whole squad, players that were not involved in the game, players that were injured but they want to share the happiness."

Mauricio Pochettino will hope this is a turning point in Chelsea's season. The Blues have been on a rotten run of form at home, and it looked like that was going to continue today.

However now they're in the semi finals of the Carabao Cup and Pochettino has a chance of silverware in his first season. The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge at the end is something that has been missing in west London.

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