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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard called for patience as summer signing Ben Chilwell inspired his new-look side to victory over Crystal Palace, on his first Premier League start since a £45m move from Leicester City.
Having made his first appearance in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup defeat on penalties by Tottenham, Chilwell marked his 100th Premier League game by firing in at the back post following Mamadou Sakho’s failed clearance.
Chilwell, 23, then delivered an excellent cross from the left to allow Kurt Zouma to head in a second after 66 minutes, before Jorginho converted two penalties in the space of four minutes to seal victory.
Lampard also handed a league debut to £22m goalkeeper Edouard Mendy – his latest recruit in a summer spending spree now beyond £220m in response to last year’s transfer ban.
“There is a lot of reactionary stuff about us because of expectation,” the Chelsea boss told BBC Sport.
“I do think people have to remain calm – that’s how I have to be, I can’t get caught up in it. It’s my job not to be reactionary and not get too upset or down.
“We got a lot of credit for coming fourth [last season] and we are not going to go from there to 100 instantly. We are a work in progress but I am up for that work and so are the players.”
In a comfortable first Premier League game, Senegal international Mendy kept Chelsea’s first clean sheet of the season as a lacklustre Palace failed to muster a shot on target.
There was a rare moment of discontent among the hosts’ ranks as Tammy Abraham, having won his side’s first penalty, felt aggrieved at being denied the opportunity to take the second by captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who shepherded him away from Jorginho.
On Abraham’s dispute with Jorginho, Lampard added: “I don’t mind Tammy’s exuberance but that has been dealt with by Azpilicueta and then me in the dressing room. I don’t mind a bit of conflict in the moment but it has been dealt with and won’t happen again.”
Following their first starts for the club on Tuesday, Mendy and Chilwell’s league debuts were among six changes made by Lampard to the side which clawed back a point in a 3-3 draw with promoted West Brom last weekend.
The Blues – who narrowly avoided back-to-back defeats on that occasion courtesy of Abraham’s late equaliser – dominated possession on Saturday but were initially frustrated in their attempts to unlock a Palace side content to sit back for much of the first half.
It was a rare error in the Eagles defence which allowed Chilwell to fire his new side ahead, as Sakho’s attempted headed clearance dropped perfectly for the England international.
With Palace forced to pursue an equaliser, Chelsea’s youthful side began to flow – with the free-to-roam Kai Havertz in particular a constant headache for the Eagles defence as he stretched the back-line with clever movement off the ball.
Chilwell had delivered delightful crosses from the left throughout and Zouma eventually took advantage to grant the left-back the assist his efforts deserved.
Abraham had gone close to adding a third from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross before winning a penalty from Tyrick Mitchell shortly after, as Jorginho put the result beyond doubt with a cool spot-kick after 78 minutes.
And, after Havertz was felled by Sakho, the Italy international made no mistake with his second to lessen the chance of any ill-feeling from his unhappy team-mate.