Chelsea’s hard-fought 1-0 win over 10-man Fulham will transform the mood around the club, believes Jamie Redknapp.
One win in six Premier League games had seen Frank Lampard’s side slip from table-toppers to a side facing lots of criticism in the chasing pack.
However, Mason Mount came up with the vital strike at Craven Cottage to get the Blues back on track after Antonee Robinson’s first-half red card, and the win left Chelsea just three points off the top four at the final whistle.
Chelsea go to Leicester on Tuesday evening – live on Sky Sports – and Redknapp says they will have their confidence restored for that important clash.
“It stops the noise that’s outside,” said Redknapp of the victory. “Everyone was talking about the bad run they were on in the Premier League. All of a sudden now, the dressing room is a better place.
“When you’re in a dressing room when you’re struggling, it’s an awful place to be. You get players talking and you feel as a manager it creates so much paranoia, you feel everyone is against you. Who’s on your side, who’s not?
“He made a couple of big changes today, he went for experience, had to juggle the pack to get the right result in the end, and he’s probably looked at it today and thought, Hakim Ziyech, when he came off and he brought on Callum Hudson-Odoi, it looked better. More pace, more direction, someone going down that right-hand side with a right foot helps as well.
“There were a couple of answers for him, defensively, and when you’ve had one clean sheet in seven, sometimes things have to change – be it a system change or you bring in a new player.
“I thought Antonio Rudiger, alongside Thiago Silva, looked a real partnership. I know they were playing against 10 men for pretty much half the game but they looked good, they looked solid, they looked sound, and that’s something you can go on.
“[Every other top team] has had that run of form, everyone’s so up and down. They have to get back into the form they were in pre the Everton game.
“It’s not going to be easy and they’ve got a really tough game on Tuesday night against Leicester, but it’s one they should be looking forward to now.
“That training ground will be a different place and they can go into it with a bit of belief.”
Redknapp on why Mount is Lampard’s key man
Match-winner Mount also created seven chances for his team-mates – the most by a Chelsea player in a Premier League game this season – and Redknapp says the England international’s performance showed why he is an automatic pick for Lampard, despite only recently turning 22.
“It was not just his goal, he was the man today for Chelsea,” said Redknapp. “From minute one he wanted the ball and made things happen. He was energetic, he pressed, and he had the pivotal moment with a really important volley.
“He had energy. He set the tempo, all game. Frank has a few players in that team that he’ll be picking every week. He’s one, Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell… There’s only a few of them.
“That’s his first goal in 13 PL games, he needs to do that more.
“But Frank knows it’s not just the goals, it’s the way he sets the tempo and starts the press. That’s why he starts week in, week out.”