Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was impressed by the performance of N'Golo Kante and Kurt Zouma during the Blues' 1-1 draw against Southampton on Saturday.
The Blues' winning run was halted at St. Mary's with Zouma and Kante getting their first starts under the German coach, who took over from Frank Lampard a few weeks ago.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid, Tuchel admitted he was impressed with the quality of the two players despite not winning the clash.
Zouma has lost his place in the Chelsea defense, with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cezar Azipilcueta preferred in a three-man defense.
"It is a process and I’ve learnt a lot of positives about Zouma," explained Tuchel, when referring to his selection policy. "I was very happy with Kurt’s performance,"
"We decided very late to put him on the pitch but he put in a very good game. I thought he was solid, he was a presence back there and he was very clear in his actions. He performed his role at a top-level, which pleased me,"
Kante, just like Zouma has only been used sparingly, coming from the bench in a number of matches.
"With N’Golo, I saw how well he’s been playing in training and of course I’ve known about him for many years," added Tuchel. "I’m very happy now that I am his coach and I have the chance to work with him every day,"
Chelsea have an immediate assignment with Diego Simeone's Atleti, who have been in impressive form in LaLiga this season.