Thomas Tuchel praised Kai Havertz after the German forward helped Chelsea take a major step towards qualifying for the Champions League by beating Everton 2-0.
Havertz has struggled to adjust to the Premier League since his £62m move from Bayer Leverkusen last summer and fitness issues meant that he had not started since Tuchel’s first game as Chelsea’s manager in January.
Playing as a false nine against Everton, though, the 21-year-old was excellent, forcing Ben Godfrey to score an own goal before winning the second-half penalty converted by Jorginho.
“I’m very happy with his performance,” Tuchel said. “There is no doubt about his talent. He needs to adapt to the Premier League. He needs to adapt where we play to win every game.
“We have the highest standards. This is a normal process. Today he was excellent. He showed up between the lines and used his potential to accelerate. He took responsibility to finish.”
Chelsea, who remain in fourth place, are unbeaten in 11 games since appointing Tuchel and they are now four points above Everton.
“I truly believe this is a team squad and I can feel the strong bond between the players,” Tuchel said. “They live it in every day of training. I feel it on the sidelines. I feel the support. We need this to have a run and to have results like this.”
Carlo Ancelotti said that Everton, who dropped into sixth after West Ham’s win over Leeds, were well beaten. “They played with more quality,” Everton’s manager said. “We are disappointed. It was really difficult.
“We have to get the result in the next games. Our target is to be in Europe. If we are in the top four it is fantastic. Our target is to be in the top six, top seven. This defeat doesn’t affect us.”