Olivier Giroud said players are “committed” to tackling the issue of racism after celebrating his latest goal for Chelsea by taking a knee.
Giroud marked his return to action by scoring for Chelsea after starting against Aston Villa. The Blues had to come from behind, but the win strengthens their position in the top four.
Society is currently battling an issue far greater than football, as the effort to end racial injustice continues. And Giroud explained after the match why he is proud to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Asked about the significance of his celebration by Sky Sports, Giroud said: “It was just a tribute to George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, and also because I always point my fingers in the sky because I am a Christian.
“As a Christian, I feel – obviously I’m not naive – but I feel we live in a difficult time. I would love [that] people show more love to each other and just eradicate this kind of hate.
“And yeah, I want to stand for that kind of cause. Racism, antisemitism, homophobia. I think it was important also that something came from a white guy.
“Obviously we are committed in that cause. We’ve done it at training and we put – to make things change – we put some stuff on social media and just to show people that we are 100 per cent behind this cause.
“I think we have the advantage to be mediatic people, so we can show the example.
“Obviously, because I am Christian, I think we should stick together and we need to show more respect and support, humility and love to each other.”
In terms of the action on the pitch, Giroud was happy to have made an impression. The striker has had to play a bit-part role due to the form of Tammy Abraham this season, but recently signed a contract extension.
And his goal was a symbol of why the club still have faith in him – even with the impending arrival of Timo Werner.
“Personally I feel very good. Physically I felt good today,” he said.
“We’ve been working very well with the team, with the squad at training. And we just had the strong desire to show our commitment and determination today.
“Obviously, it didn’t go the best way in the first half. We could have scored first, but it’s always nice to show great team character like that to come back and to win this game.
“So yeah, I’m very pleased for the team.”
The goal was something of a rarity for the Frenchman, who had netted just twice in the Premier League before that this season. And while it took a bit of help to go in, Giroud was delighted to have got back up and running.
“I said to someone in the dressing room, it was my right foot so I needed a deflection to get it in,” he joked.
“But honestly, it was on target, so too many people in front of me and it’s quite rare for me, so I take it with great pleasure.”
Giroud relishes Abraham battle; outlines third place aim
Asked further about his battle wit Abraham for a starting place, Giroud said it was important to have different players keeping each other on their toes.
That competition for places is inspiring Chelsea to a positive season – and the striker is now firmly looking up the table, rather than over their shoulders.
“Well, yeah, it’s a fair competition. I think it’s always nice for the strikers to have top strikers to always step up, and staying focused on what you have to do on the pitch.
“So yeah, I just try to help the team to give my best, and today I’ve been lucky that Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] made a cutback.
“I was a bit unlucky on some crosses. But yeah, at the end of the day, I’m very happy to help the team, to score and win that game. Very important for us, because now there is a small gap between us and the one behind us.
“So yeah, we need to look forward now, and maybe, why not the third place?”