Chelsea showed the killer instinct Frank Lampard has demanded as Callum Hudson-Odoi scored his first Premier League goal and Tammy Abraham was back on target in Saturday’s 3-0 win against Burnley.
Lampard’s side have taken more points on their travels than they have in west London this season after a series of frustrating performances at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues boss has questioned whether his young Chelsea team have the “balls” to cope with the stress of breaking down defensive opponents after surprise home defeats against West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton this season.
But Chelsea proved they have the nous required to turn possession into tangible rewards at the Bridge as Jorginho’s penalty opened the scoring in the first half against a Burnley side set up to frustrate.
Abraham’s 15th Chelsea goal of his breakthrough season doubled the lead and Hudson-Odoi finished off Burnley soon after half-time.
Hudson Odoi’s maiden top-flight effort was a welcome boost for the teenager, who has admitted struggling to recapture last season’s impressive form due to fears he will suffer a recurrence of April’s Achilles injury.
Afer losing five of their past nine league games, a spell that did include wins at Tottenham and Arsenal, Chelsea look back on track.
They consolidated fourth place and sit five points ahead of fifth placed Manchester United in the race to qualify for the Champions League.
There was also just a second clean-sheet in 10 league matches to give Lampard further encouragement, albeit against a Burnley side who have lost seven of their last nine league games.
Lampard had made three changes, with Ross Barkley in for France midfielder N’Golo Kante, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered in training on Friday.
Often lacking inspiration at home, Chelsea started with a sustained spell of pressure that kept Burnley camped in their own half.
Willian’s long-range effort deflected wide off Ben Mee before Reece James just cleared the bar with a powerful drive.
– Turning point –
Burnley thought they had snatched the lead against the run of play when Mee headed towards Jeff Hendrick and he nodded home at the far post.
But the flag went up and a VAR review showed Mee had strayed offside by the narrowest of margins.
It was the turning point as Chelsea took the lead in the 27th minute.
James spread the ball wide to Willian and he accelerated past Matt Lowton with real purpose, provoking the Burnley defender into a rash sliding tackle that sent the Brazilian crashing to the turf.
Referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot and Italy midfielder Jorginho stepped up to send Nick Pope the wrong way for his sixth club goal of the season.
Dwight McNeil almost sneaked a clever free-kick past Kepa Arrizabalaga, but the Chelsea keeper scrambled across to save the fierce low strike.
Barkley cleared Mee’s header off the line before Chris Wood, falling backwards, nearly turned in a scuffed equaliser as inelegant as his appearance, with two lumps of cotton wool sticking out the striker’s nose after an earlier injury.
But Burnley’s flurry was met with a devastating response from Chelsea as Abraham doubled their lead in the 39th minute.
James exchanged passes with Hudson-Odoi and whipped over a teasing cross that Abraham, climbing aggressively above two defenders, met with a towering header that evaded Pope’s curiously weak attempted save.
Hudson-Odoi put the result beyond doubt in the 49th minute when he slid in to finish off Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross, with the goal surviving a VAR offside review.
The winger has now been directly involved in 12 goals in his 14 home starts in all competitions, scoring six and setting up six.
Only Pope stopped Chelsea winning more handsomely as he repelled efforts from Mount and Abraham.