It has been a difficult start to life at Chelsea for Tiemoue Bakayoko, but his performance against Liverpool at the weekend has seen him earn praise from teammate Thibaut Courtois.
In what was a crucial game for Chelsea’s top four hopes, as Antonio Conte’s side earned themselves a vital 1-0 win against the Champions League finalists, with Bakayoko central to the performance.
Signed from Monaco for £40 million last summer as a replacement for Nemanja Matic, he had failed to impress Blues fans after a number of disappointing displays.
However, his improved performance against the Reds on Sunday was enough to convince Thibaut Courtois that he could form a ‘formidable’ partnership alongside N’Golo Kante next season.
He told the London Evening Standard: “It is not easy to settle into a new club, especially one like Chelsea. If results go your way it’s fantastic, everybody will say it’s a great signing. Yet when things go wrong and you’re a big signing, you will get criticism.
“People forget that he is still a young guy. Maybe his form dropped a bit, but you can see in the last few games he’s been very good again.
“He was very strong against Liverpool in midfield and we can be happy about that. His partnership with N’Golo Kante can be a formidable one in midfield next season.
“Physically they are very strong. It will be really hard for teams to win that midfield battle against us.
“N’Golo just runs and runs and runs. He must be carrying a really big motor inside himself to keep on doing that week after week. He never gets rest and is the guy that gives us balance in this team.”
While the Blues are still in with a shout of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, they are still relying on Tottenham or Liverpool slipping up in their final games of the season this week.