The Manchester City full-back endured an agonising first two seasons at the Etihad Stadium, during which he was twice ruled out with a serious, long-term knee injury.
A popular, larger than life character, Mendy admits recovering from those setbacks was hard, even for someone with his exuberant personality.
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Having returned from the second of those injuries in September, the 25-year-old has since made 24 appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side – his highest tally since arriving at the Club.
Intent on consigning his injury troubles to the past, the Frenchman did extra training during lockdown and now wants to show everyone at the Club the real Benjamin Mendy.
“This is my time,” he declared. “All the time I lost was not the same because I was injured.
“The way Manchester City, the staff, the players were behind me, helped me, pushed me. I want to give them the real Mendy back.
“It was hard when I was in the hospital, the recovery; this is the life. People don’t see all of that. It is not easy.
“Even in the first game you are back you are expected to be at the top because people watch the game for that. They don’t have time to say he was injured.
“They want a good performance and I understand that and it gives me more motivation to work hard.
“I think now I am in one my best periods at Manchester City.”
City came from behind to beat Frank Lampard’s side 2-1 in an entertaining game at the Etihad in November and Mendy expects another tight contest.
He admits the absence of fans has forced him to sharpen his focus in order to adjust to the unfamiliar environment of the new normal and that will certainly help at Stamford Bridge, where he is anticipating a testing one versus one battle.
“The game we played at home [against them] was difficult,” he added.
“I think it was a game with the most intensity we had in the league; it was very box to box!
“It was very physical because they have players like N’golo Kante in the midfield who is everywhere, the back four is strong.
“They play well and I think away it will be a tight game. We just need to play like we play and give everything, take the rhythm, keep going and keep winning.
“I think on my side it will be Willian. He is very fast, has ability, move a lot from the defender which makes it more difficult, but we need to be focused. I like a game like that.”
The Premier League’s anti-racism message has been a prominent feature of the restarted campaign and Mendy has been heartened by the widespread support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
A big believer in football's ability to make a difference, he is hopeful that, with continued support, we can rid the world of racism.
“I think in football we have the facility to send a big message and can change a lot of things.
“We can find a solution, but I think we need to be all together and send a big message because what happens is not normal and is from nothing.
“Every person going to work or every person going to school, we are all the same.”