NextGen Series: Carruthers - We've never stopped believing
Samir Carruthers admits Villa have surprised a few people by reaching the NextGen Series final.
But the skipper's belief has never wavered during this memorable European campaign.
Carruthers is set to lead Villa out at the Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia in Lake Como for Monday night's all-English final against Chelsea.
The 19-year-old midfielder has unhappy memories of facing the west London outfit in a major final.
As a first year scholar back in the 2009-10 campaign, he was on the losing side when Chelsea defeated Tony McAndrew's team to lift the FA Youth Cup.
Three years later, though, the two clubs will collide again with continental supremacy up for grabs.
Carruthers is hopeful of a happier outcome - even if Villa were unfancied when they arrived in Italy for the finals weekend.
"It is great that we are in the final and probably a lot of outsiders didn't believe we'd make it this far," he said.
"But we've got good team belief and if we didn't believe in ourselves we wouldn't be here.
"I believe we can do it and we are here now so we've just got to prove to the rest that we can win this.
"When I was a first year we played Chelsea in the Youth Cup final and we lost narrowly so there is a little bit of rivalry.
"But it should be a good game so hopefully we can do it."
Carruthers was proud of the discipline and tenacity Villa showed in Friday night's semi-final victory over Sporting Lisbon.
He knows those qualities will be needed again against Chelsea.
"We stuck to our game plan and the lads dug it out," he added.
"In the first half we didn't play the greatest but we showed our quality in the second-half.
"Especially in extra-time as well, we showed how fit we are to carry on to the end and we finished them off with the quality we've got in our team."
The NextGen Series final on Monday evening kicks off at 6pm local time/5pm UK time.
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