The sight of the number 21 being held up by the fourth official on Saturday brought almost as much applause from the Stamford Bridge crowd as Cole Palmer’s winning goal against Fulham.

It was, of course, the moment Ben Chilwell made his long-awaited return to action following a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. The vice-captain replaced Raheem Sterling with just over 10 minutes remaining and played his part to ensure we saw our 1-0 win over the line.

Chilwell was clearly delighted to be back on the field for Mauricio Pochettino’s side but also wanted to pay tribute to the Chelsea fans for the support shown towards him – not just against Fulham but for the entirety of his injury – and he hopes to be able to repay that faith with strong performances and more victories!

‘It was great to be back out there helping the team,’ a beaming Ben said after our win over Fulham.

‘It’s felt like a long time [being out] but I had a great reception from the fans, so thanks to them for that and it was just great to be back out on the pitch.

‘The fans have been brilliant with me throughout the injury and the support from them has been amazing. It’s certainly not gone unnoticed, I thank them for the support and as I said, it’s just an amazing feeling to be back out there playing at Stamford Bridge.

‘Being injured is never a nice feeling and it’s something I’ve just had to learn to deal with and try to take the positives from. I’ve worked hard to get back fit and to be ready to help the team, both physically and mentally.

‘Obviously I’ve been working hard to get myself physically fit and ready to compete on the pitch but also being a good help to the boys in the dressing room and around the training ground.

‘I’ve tried to support as much as possible when I’ve not been involved. I try to get around the boys and offer encouraging words whether that’s at half-time, full-time or before the games. Now I’m back fit, hopefully I can help on the pitch too!'

The Blues have an extended break now before our next fixture, with Middlesbrough visiting Stamford Bridge in a week’s time for a huge Carabao Cup semi-final second leg.

Despite trailing from the first leg on Teesside, Chelsea are eight unbeaten across all competitions at home and Chilwell believes we can continue that fine form, overturn the deficit and experience another special night at Stamford Bridge under the lights.

‘I think we are starting to turn a corner a little bit now,’ added Chilwell.

‘We’re eight unbeaten at the Bridge now and beating Fulham, in a local derby, gives us real momentum ahead of a big game against Middlesbrough the [Carabao] cup semi-final.

‘I’m sure the fans will be right behind us as they always are and it’s a big opportunity for us to create another special night under the lights at Stamford Bridge.’