Andreas Christensen is continuing to show his value after starting his fourth game in a row under Thomas Tuchel, with a third clean sheet during that run capping another good performance against Newcastle.
The centre-back returned to the starting 11 after Thiago Silva limped off at Tottenham and would have been eager to impress the new boss by taking his opportunity.
Starts against Sheffield United and Barnsley followed and, although he did withdraw early at Oakwell in midweek, he was back in the middle of a back three as the Blues defence stood firm at Stamford Bridge on Monday night to make it just one goal conceded in six games under Tuchel.
Following that latest shutout, the Dane shared what the head coach has been telling the back-line on the training ground, which has resulted in a series of top defensive performances.
‘I have played four games in a row now and it has been a whole since I’ve done that,’ the 25-year-old said after the game. ‘All the manager says is just be comfortable.
‘If you don’t need to play the ball, you don’t have to. Wait for someone to come and take the ball, don’t take last-second decisions, know what you’re going to do and make it happen.
‘He just said to us to be comfortable and believe in ourselves. I have played in the middle of the three before and I’m quite comfortable there. At the moment, when we are playing good football and getting wins, it is helping us so we don’t have to do too much to change it.’
Alongside the clean sheet, Chelsea have moved back into the top four and are only four points behind third-placed Leicester and second-placed Manchester United. Christensen believes the whole squad being on the same page has helped turn things around.
‘I think when the group came back together, we had one goal, ever since the dip, when we felt the dip coming.
‘We all have had the same goal. It is not just about aiming for top three or top four. We just wanted to get back on track and we knew that if we did that then anything was possible.’
In between the sticks, Kepa Arrizabalaga made his first Premier League appearance since October and Christensen believes it will bring the Spaniard plenty of confidence.
‘I think he made a couple of good saves,’ he added. ‘That can be important for his self-esteem and also for the group.
‘It was nice to see him out there. We felt comfortable, even though we needed him two times in the second half.’