Chelsea legend Pat Nevin is heading to Germany hoping for more signs the reshaped team is aiming to achieve one of the hardest things in football, as he explains in this week’s column…

I wonder if it is just that I am a glass-half-full kinda guy. I found myself watching the first half of the West Ham game at the weekend and thinking, ‘Wow, that looks quite special.’ A three-goal lead would have been no surprise alongside some fabulous, controlled football which led to my imaginary glass filling by the minute.

So okay, there was a bit of leakage when we lost the equaliser and the second half wasn’t quite as dominant, but there was also that statistic of us having 72 per cent possession against a Premier league outfit away from home.

Even that level of ball retention might not pique the interest of many who have watched the Blues do that to plenty of teams in recent years, but this isn’t the Chelsea of recent years, this is a vastly changed outfit. That is the reason why I was impressed. There was Benoit Badiashile, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, Joao Felix and of course Enzo Fernandez in the starting line-up. All of them new, young and just learning about the English game at the top level.

Even though these lads didn’t come cheap, you shouldn’t underestimate the how impressive it is to be able to play together with that level of self-belief which led to dominance, particularly for the lion’s share of the first half. Obviously, we all want it to click immediately and the current league position is not what Chelsea fans expect or indeed deserve, but I want to see improvement and hope from the new team. I certainly saw plenty of that against the Hammers, who although they are struggling are still a decent outfit.

We will discover the answer

So yes, another point only, but my hat is still set at a fairly jaunty angle as far as the team is concerned. Football fans and owners love to see winning. For many if not most, it is winning above everything and that is a perfectly reasonable stance. I also want to be entertained, just as much as winning, something bred into me with Jesuitical zeal when I was young watching the likes of Brazil with Pele, the great Ajax side, the Netherlands with Johan Cruyff and more personally, Glasgow Celtic, who were then among the best teams in Europe but crucially, also among the most entertaining.

Winning isn’t easy at the top level in England and in Europe. Winning with style is even harder, but that looks to me what the team is trying to do. I can almost hear a cynic quoting Woody from Toy Story saying to Buzz Lightyear, ‘That isn’t flying, that’s falling with style.’ The answer to that will only be discovered as the months and years progress, but I am still very hopeful and then some.

Back in the day-to-day world of the present however, the first leg against Borussia Dortmund could become one of the most intriguing ties in recent years for the club. The German side are an impressive lot, with not a bad support, who will provide a huge test to some of our young players.

Mouth-watering dish

It is early days to be coming up against this sort of tie, especially if four or five in blue are ‘newbies’. That confidence on the ball shown at the London Stadium will be needed once again, but it will be that much harder to do this time against a top European outfit.

There is plenty of interesting fare that will be worth keeping an eye on, over and above who will finish the 90 minutes in a stronger position for the second leg. Jude Bellingham against Enzo Fernandez is a mouth-watering dish on its own. They are two of the most exciting young midfielders in world football, that just about any club would take now and stick in their first team without a second’s thought. They might not be directly up against each other throughout, but their individual influences could have a mighty effect on the outcome.

Even Kai Havertz returning to Germany is a huge story on its own. Kai had his own difficulties at the World Cup along with his national team as a whole, but there were definite moments of his imperious best to be seen at the weekend. Defences at the top level are hard to glide past but he was finding some gaps and making intelligent runs throughout. His finish, that was marginally offside in the build-up, was as cool as his famous, never-to-be-forgotten strike in Porto that won us the Champions League.

Kai is not the classic old-school centre-forward that so many English pundits think is the only answer, but when you haven’t got one of them available then you must think outside the box, or think differently inside the box if we are going to be pedantic about it. We would love to see Didier Drogba Mark 2, but there aren’t many of them around and available at the moment. Man City seemed to do quite well before Erling Haaland arrived, so it is about being smart and imaginative.

This is maybe where I have seen the most hope, in the possibilities of imagination in the final third. For a club that has been spoiled by the creativity of the likes of Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, it is a big ask. In Mykhailo Mudryk, Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix we have players who want to look forward first and foremost, always ready to break the lines whether it be by skill and dribbling or vision and passing beyond the opposition.

I love risk-taking in the final third particularly. The temptation to play the safe pass has become endemic in parts of the game at the top level, but watch the best such as Kevin De Bruyne. They always seem to know when it is worth taking the chance and more importantly, have the vision as well as the bravery to take it on.

Creative players do need time to develop understandings, so I will be winding my way from here in Milan this morning, after commentating on the Spurs match, over to covering the Chelsea game with as much excitement, if not more, than I have for any Chelsea game for a very long time.

I would love us to win, but I want to see this team build and grow together and I want to be entertained. Go for it lads and continue to be brave, it will pay off in the end. Chelsea fans will understand, youngsters however talented need some time. This is just the start and we will be behind you.