Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was full of praise for the quartet of “kids” he opted to field against Manchester United on Monday.
Youngsters Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Kevin De Bruyne and Oscar all started in the goalless draw at Old Trafford and are aged 22 or below, with the latter 21.
Schurrle made his first Premier League start after joining from Bayer Leverkusen and De Bruyne is attempting to make his mark at Chelsea after a loan spell at Werder Bremen last season.
Mourinho declared himself delighted with how the players coped against the Premier League champions.
He said: “I played with four kids under 22 in attack, for some of them the first time at Old Trafford.
“They played against the champions, against (Rio) Ferdinand, against (Nemanja) Vidic, against (Patrice) Evra. My kids behaved very well.
“They couldn’t produce enough to win the game, we didn’t have as many situations as we expected to, we missed some easy passes, but the boys were fantastic.
“My team needs this because it is a team with a lot of talent but at the same time they need to know how to play in difficult circumstances. They know how to think tactically, how to think in a result if the result you want is not possible.”
Chelsea are next in action against German treble-winners Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup on Friday.