Frank Lampard has told his Chelsea youngsters they have set the standard for the rest of the season after their stunning 1-0 win at Ajax.
Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi all started in the imposing Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.
They stood up to everything last season’s semi-finalists could throw at them, before Michy Batshuayi rifled in the winner four minutes from time.
“That’s the blueprint. There are no excuses for us now. That’s the standard and we can’t drop it,” said Lampard.
“The most pleasing thing is the desire to improve and follow a game plan, and we are moving in the right direction. The signs are good at the moment.”
Batshuayi had missed a sitter from six yards out before he converted a cross from fellow substitute Christian Pulisic to move Chelsea level on points with their hosts at the top of Group H.
“I’m delighted with every element of the performance, the work ethic from everyone and the subs was second to none,” added Lampard.
“That’s what you want from the subs – sometimes the hardest part is leaving someone out. It’s great for the spirit of the squad when subs come on and make an impact like that.
“Michy’s training and positivity is exactly what you want. I know he missed one chance but his hold-up play was excellent and he got his goal.
“Whatever happened after that miss I would have been proud, but I know Michy can finish. Christian’s assist is as important as the finish, and the fact the sub scored makes me so happy.”
Ajax will point to a disallowed goal in the first half from Quincy Promes, who was ruled offside by VAR in the tightest of decisions.
Promes told Uefa.com: “I thought I had made my run at the right time but the VAR is there to make sure in this kind of situation, so we just have to accept the decision.”