LONDON: Despite fielding a practically reserve side Chelsea managed to inflict a 2-1 defeat on Everton in the Carabao (League) Cup and the young, inexperienced players did enough to please their manager Antonio Conte. He said: “I’m very happy because I saw a lot of positive things. I think tonight Charly Musonda and Kenedy and Ampadu – don’t forget he is only 17, they played a good game. It is very important to trust these players because they deserve to have this chance.”
Much of the talk of the day was about Everton’s manager, David Unsworth who has replaced Ronald Koeman who was sacked from the job last Monday after the northern sides’ poor performances which sees them well down in the lower half of the Premier League table. Unsworth has taken temporary charge and has a busy period of three games in the next ten days to prove that he is fit for the top job. He said: “I want to manage and this is an amazing club to be manager of. I make no secret of it.”
He seemed to have injected some spirit in the team which ran Chelsea so close in this match. “We can’t be where we are (18th spot in the league) and expect to win every game, but there’s an awful lot to work with there. It’s a very proud performance tonight.” Unsworth added: “Hopefully they’ll be as committed as that every game that I’m in charge. I’ve got a great relationship with the board. I’ve had no points or games total that they have set (as target). We’ll continue to work game to game and take it from there.”
Although they lost, Everton dominated large spells of the second half in a display which was a marked improvement from the 5-2 demolition by Arsenal last Sunday which sealed former manager Koeman’s fate. With Chelsea, the Premier League champions, being far from a full-strength team, the game was closely contested and the slow-moving first half livened considerably in the second period, particularly in the later stage.
With only two of the first-choice players — Gary Cahill and Willian — in the side, until Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Alvaro Morata came on as substitutes late in the second half, the younger players, having been given a chance, showed the depth in strength the London club has. Among them outstanding is Michy Batshuayi who has shown his potential at every opportunity he has had. Not least against Watford in the Premier League last Saturday when he was brought on as substitute after an hour into the match with Chelsea trailing 1-2.
Within ten minutes in that match he equalised with an excellent header and added his side’s fourth goal in the last minute. Since joining from Marseille for £33.1million last year, he scored 16 goals over a shorter period than Harry Kane, Premier League’s brilliant striker’s strike rate. He averaged a goal every 71 minutes of the time he spent on the pitch as opposed to Kane’s 116 minutes.
Batshuayi’s Chelsea and Belgium team-mate, Thibaut Courtois said: “Michy is young and needs to be given time. Not every striker will have the same impact at the same time. He is doing very well, he has scored some important goals. Obviously, he has to keep working and doing what the manager asks of him.” He is a player about whom Chelsea can be excited.”
From Andy Jalil at Stamford Bridge