Ex-Chelsea assistant hails three ‘unbelievable’ stars in Lille win

Joe Williams
Chelsea defender Thiago Silva claps the supporters

Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris has picked out Thiago Silva, Kai Havertz and N’Golo Kante for special praise in their 2-0 victory over Lille.

Germany forward Havertz nodded in Hakim Ziyech’s fizzing corner, before Christian Pulisic slotted home from N’Golo Kante’s threaded pass in a dominant Champions League last-16 first-leg victory.

Havertz impressed in the false nine role as £98m club-record signing Romelu Lukaku watched on from the bench, with USA speedster Pulisic an equally effective supporting act.

Tuchel’s Chelsea are a perfect Champions League match

And Morris, who was assistant during Frank Lampard’s time in charge at Chelsea, thought Silva, Kante and Havertz had particularly good games.

Morris said on BBC Radio Five Live: “Thiago Silva was unbelievable – it does not seem like he is getting older one bit.

“Kai Havertz, you have to give the manager credit for picking him and Havertz had one of his best games in a Chelsea shirt. N’Golo Kante was his world-class best too.

“Lille didn’t threaten enough and when they got close to the Chelsea goal ran into a brick wall.

“It was a really accomplished performance from Chelsea. The clean sheet is huge at home. With the games they have to catch up in with the league it may allow them to rotate the squad even more.

“It should’ve been more, that’s the only disappointment that Thomas Tuchel will have, but you can’t really moan about a 2-0 win in the last 16.

“Chelsea have been winning without playing their best and if some of these players start performing at the levels they’re capable of then they could go on a long run.”

Meanwhile, Lukaku had registered a Premier League record-low seven touches in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, amid continued struggles to find his west London niche.

Havertz and Pulisic starred as Champions League holders Chelsea put one foot in the quarter-finals, before Thomas Tuchel explained his decision to protect his talismanic Belgian striker.

“It was not the moment after the match where everyone was focused on his few touches, so it was not the moment to put him into the next fire,” said Tuchel.

“It was the moment to take a step back, that was the decision and that’s it. We have now had a strong win and a strong performance.

“We have now had a good win – and all the questions are still about Romelu, so the focus is huge. There are nine other players who did not play and we should never forget that we consider this sport a team sport.”