Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was pleased to see Kai Havertz take his second chance in their 4-1 win over Crystal Palace but demanded further improvement from the £71million ace.
The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker starred in the Blues’ routine victory at Selhurst Park and scored for just the second time in the Premier League this season.
A poor display in the midweek 2-0 win over Porto could have seen Havertz dropped to the bench like fellow Germany international Timo Werner, but he retained his starting berth and scored in the eighth minute before he provided an assist two minutes later.
It was an impressive all-round display by the 21-year-old who had only found the net once since he opened his account in the top flight against Southampton back in October.
Tuchel said: “He has quality, he needs to show his quality. It is as easy as that. Kai will never be our emotional leader, we don’t expect him to be, but we expect to see his quality, to show his quality.
“He needs to be in a high position, he can play the half positions, he can play the number nine position, so this is not so much a difference from me.
“Honestly he needed to show he could do better, that was the challenge personally for him. He got a second chance to show up after Porto. It is the moment now in the season, with so many decisive matches coming, that you fight for your place.
“And he got another chance to show he can do better than he did in Porto and he did this. There is still room to improve in his finishing, he should have been more ruthless and could have scored more but it was a good step and a good performance.”
Havertz was part of an excellent front three alongside Christian Pulisic, who grabbed a brace, and Mason Mount, with the latter providing for Kurt Zouma’s 29th-minute header.
It was the first time Chelsea had scored more than twice in a game since Tuchel arrival’s at the end of January, but he refused to label it as their best display since his appointment as Chelsea moved back into the top four with a comfortable triumph.
“We had very good performances in Tottenham, Atletico (Madrid), Everton and Liverpool; I don’t know, I don’t see it like this, but it was a very good performance,” the German added.
“It was clearly the performance where we created the most chances, the most touches in the opponent’s box and scored the most.
“This is not so hard to say, but you cannot compare it to Champions League matches or our game at Liverpool, you clearly cannot but I am happy with what we played.”
It was another day to forget for mid-table Palace, who also suffered a heavy defeat at Stamford Bridge earlier in the campaign.
Trailing by three goals inside half an hour, the Eagles would have feared another 7-0 loss like they suffered against Liverpool in December, but Christian Benteke pulled one back midway through the second period to salvage some pride.
Manager Roy Hodgson admitted: “When you are 3-0 down at half-time, which we were deservedly, you are definitely staring down the barrel of a gun.
“Fortunately we didn’t capitulate and fortunately we didn’t lose heavier than by 4-1 but it is still a very bad defeat albeit against a very good team.
“It is our job to play against these very good teams and to make life as difficult for them as we possibly can and I don’t think we did that.”