Reece James aim Champions League after an outstanding performance on his return

Reece James has set his sights on getting Chelsea back into the Champions League after starring on his comeback against Nottingham Forest.

James made an instant impact on his return as he helped Chelsea secure a dramatic 3-2 victory at the City Ground on Sunday to boost their hopes of European qualification.

After five months out with a hamstring injury, James came off the bench and took just three minutes to set up the winner for Nicolas Jackson with a pinpoint cross from the right.

The win moves Chelsea up to seventh in the table as they target Europa League qualification at the end of what has been a difficult season.

But James is already aiming higher and says Chelsea must be back in the Champions League.

“We’re learning every day,” James told Chelsea TV.

“We’re still young and during the season we’ve had a few off days, but on the whole we’ve improved and we’re coming strong towards the end of the season.

“Europe is one of the highest levels in club football and we’re one of the biggest clubs in club football, so we want to be pushing each season to be knocking on the door for the Champions League. That’s the aim.”

James was delighted to be back after frustrating spell out.

“It was so great to be back out there!’ said James.

“It’s been a long five months since I played. I’ve been waiting for this return for so long, so I’m happy I can make my comeback today and help the team.

“In fact, that’s the first time I’ve played this year. I was just determined to get back before the end of the season, be in a good shape to help the team and I’m glad I was able to do that today.

“It’s been a slow process for me to get back to this stage. Initially, we thought we would be looking at around three months out so to then be out for nearly five was really difficult for me to process in my head.

“There were some long days for me but that’s part of the process. Now I’m just glad to be back fit and able to help the team.

“I was really happy to play my part in the win and of course I’m delighted to assist Nicolas. Crossing is a strong attribute of mine, I had the opportunity to put it on a plate for Nicolas and a player of his quality, he was always going to score.

“It’s a good win for us and slowly but surely we’re finding our feet. We’re finding a good level and staying consistent week in, week out.”

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