Chelsea’s development squad have secured maximum points from the opening Premier League 2 games after a big South Coast win over Southampton on Friday night.
Jon Russell was quickest to react to Marcel Lewis' cross scoring after just two minutes and Thierno Ballo restored our lead 14 minutes later after Southampton had drawn level. Myles Peart-Harris gave us a 3-1 lead at the break and then added a fourth after the inteval to give the young Blues all three points away from home.
Assistant coach Jon Harley spoke following the 4-1 victory over the Saints and was proud of how the team had begun the league title defence, although he also believes there is more to come from the young squad.
‘We’ve had two really tough games - this Southampton team will give most teams a really difficult game this season with the way they are set up to play and West Ham had gone last season with losing a game,’ he told the official Chelsea website.
‘To come out of those two games with two victories is something we’re really proud of but we know that it is only the start. We can play better than we have in both of those games and that’s something we will look to try and implement into the next game.’
Read: The full match report
Southamton’s newly-formed B-team offered a different challenge to the West Ham side who visited Kingsmeadow last week. Despite an early Russell strike, Harley thought our start was far from perfect but heaped praise on the players for applying themselves once the game settled.
‘We knew it was going to be a physical test after watching their first game against Arsenal and the way they press teams mirrors the first team down to a tee’, Harley continued. ‘We knew what to expect and I’ve got to give so much credit to the boys for the way they applied themselves and dealt with that, all while playing good football as well.
‘We didn’t start the game particularly well at all and the fact that they equalised shortly after highlighted that we weren’t doing the things we spoke about before the game. After 10 minutes, I think we settled and found where the space was to play and we started looking to move the ball forward, making them defend more.'
A 3-1 lead at half-time gave the young Blues some breathing space at the mid-point. Peart-Harris wrapped up the scoring on the night with his second after 72 minutes, which ultimately put the game beyond the reach of the hosts, who struggled to deal with the quality of football from Chelsea.
‘At half-time we spoke about maintaining what we were doing and with it being such a young group that we’ve got, the way they were standing up physically was impressive,’ continued Harley.
‘We did want to get more of a hold on the game and play more football that we’re accustomed to and you could tell we did that as at the end a few Southampton players were cramping up and the red card proved how effectively we were moving the ball.'
The development squad are back on the South Coast this Friday evening when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion in PL2, kick-off 7pm. It is a game you can watch live on this website and The 5th Stand app.