Mauricio Pochettino is enjoying watching relationships forming on the pitch as he constructs a new Chelsea team, and he knows the part experience plays in accelerating that understanding.
So many of his squad arrived at Stamford Bridge either this summer or in January. It is why Pochettino is happy to be patient. He acknowledges bumps in the road are to be expected, but the potential remains so very high.
‘The players need to be settled, to feel comfortable, and they need to know each other,’ Pochettino stressed.
‘Our keeper Robert [Sanchez] has played with [Axel] Disasi four or five games. Disasi with Malo Gusto three games. Thiago [Silva] with [Levi] Colwill four or five games. Lesley [Ugochukwu] with Enzo one game. That’s including pre-season, the national team.
‘Having players with experience in key positions is important. And not just individual experience, experience in the environment in which you are going to compete. You need players with Premier League experience.
‘It’s not easy to find the best way to perform under pressure. So the steps are little. Maybe from the outside it’s difficult to see we are progressing, but from the inside the team are doing well. We are building a solid structure. When the team is settled, we will get the results we want.’
One of those players settling into the team, if not the club or indeed the Premier League, is Levi Colwill.
The 20-year-old has started each of our five league fixtures so far at left-back, learning from Thiago Silva next to him and Ben Chilwell further forward. Pochettino is impressed by what he has seen so far.
‘Levi was called up to the national team because he is playing really well. He is improving every day, from when he started at Brighton with Roberto [De Zerbi]. It was a fantastic experience for him.
‘Now he continues to improve and show great quality and great character also. He’s a person with character who wants to improve. He is humble enough to listen and he can be very important now and in the future.’