Chelsea may be up for sale but Thomas Tuchel’s showed no signs of being distracted as Kai Havertz scored twice in a comfortable 4-0 victory at Premier League strugglers Burnley on Saturday.
Relegation-threatened Burnley wasted a series of first half opportunities but then collapsed with some shambolic defending after Reece James opened the scoring in the 47th minute.
Chelsea struck three times in the space of eight minutes prompting the normally hardy Burnley fans to head for the exits well before the end.
There were reminders of Chelsea’s new situation in the singing of owner Roman Abramovich’s name throughout the game — although the chanting in support of the Russian during a minute’s applause in solidarity with Ukraine drew an angry reaction from the Burnley supporters.
Chelsea made a flat start to the game and had Brazilian Thiago Silva to thank for clearing Wout Weghorst’s first-time shot off the line.
Nathan Collins then headed over from a free-kick as the home crowd began to sense that an upset from the 18th-placed side could be on the cards.
But that sense of anticipation soon turned to frustration with Dwight McNeil missing a glorious chance after Edouard Mendy failed to connect properly with a punch clear.
McNeil’s decision to go for a chip rather than a more straightforward finish was then followed by some poor hesitation inside the box after he burst down the left.
Tuchel had plenty to resolve at the break and judging by the upturn in his team’s performance he did just that.
James, starting his first game since December, opened the scoring two minutes after the interval, drilling a shot into the far, bottom corner after turning Dwight McNeil inside out.
Havertz then pulled away from his marker Connor Roberts to head home a nicely floated cross from Christian Pulisic to make it 2-0 for the visitors.
The German then had another simple finish, converting a James cross from close range, and Pulisic had the easiest of tasks scoring after Burnley defender James Tarkowski diverted a Saul Niguez cross into his path.
Chelsea are third on 53 points, 13 points behind leaders Manchester City while Burnley stay in 18th place on 21 points.
“The first goal helped us. In these matches that are so tight, that obviously gives you a lot of confidence,” said Tuchel.
“It’s a good performance overall because it’s not easy to come to Turf Moor. It was a good team performance, very focused. It improves my impression that we’re constantly getting better and better. We deserved to win and it was a very good second half.”