The broad smile across the face of Mykhailo Mudryk told its own story. After eight months as a Chelsea player, the 22-year-old had a goal to his name. It was a much-deserved moment of jubilation.
It was in January that Mudryk signed for Chelsea. He arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk, who hadn't played a competitive fixture in two months. Yet his debut – a cameo off the bench against Liverpool at Anfield – was a showcase of the winger's undoubted talent.
As with any new addition, time was required. Mudryk had to adapt to life in a new country, a new culture, and a new club. And this had to happen amid the backdrop of Russia's invasion of his homeland.
Mudryk has put the work in at Cobham – he regularly undertakes extra post-training drills – and has earned the trust of head coach Mauricio Pochettino as the campaign has progressed.
'With every game, every training session, you understand better the main things the manager wants from the team,' Mudryk explained after his maiden strike in blue, which came against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Monday evening.
'So you improve, get better, better, and better. Then this is what you have to show on the pitch.’
Mudryk's first Chelsea goal was a well crafted one. It started with a fine cross-field pass from Moises Caicedo to Levi Colwill, who advanced down the flank and clipped the ball over the head of Issa Diop.
The Ukraine international brought the ball down on his chest and kept his composure to guide his shot between the legs of Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
‘It’s a special moment for me, a first goal, it's always special,' Mudryk explained. 'I'm so excited and happy with this moment for our supporters. It’s a big moment for me and all the people that have supported me.
'Sometimes this happens [the wait for a goal] and you have to accept this. You have to just keep working hard and then moments will come.’
Mudryk's start at Craven Cottage was his fourth in succession for Chelsea, although the winger's evening ended at the interval due to what Pochettino said was a feeling in his quadricep.
However, the Blues head coach outlined why Mudryk has secured a regular spot on the left of our attack in recent weeks.
'He's played because he has deserved to – and because he’s showed in the training sessions that he has deserved to. He's been really focused and his performance in training provides us the confidence to put him on the pitch and play.'