Mauricio Pochettino has dropped his strongest hint yet that Djordje Petrovic will keep his place, despite the impending return to full fitness of Robert Sanchez.
One of the least heralded signings of the Clearlake regime was given an unlikely first team opportunity following the injury sustained by Sanchez against Everton at the start of December.
The £27m recruit from Brighton had previously failed to convince with a series of erratic displays but his understudy has put in a series of near faultless performances in his absence.
Petrovic continued his fine form with another clean sheet in Friday night’s FA Cup stalemate against Aston Villa and Pochettino is delighted, if somewhat surprised, by the way in which the Serbian has thrived.
‘He’s doing fantastic,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘I think we need to give full credit because he arrived this season at Chelsea from the MLS.
‘He’s really young and he’s performing well. I think the way he is behaving in the goal, it shows his quality and his character is amazing.
‘I think he’s doing an amazing job.’
Chelsea’s problems at the other end of the pitch reared their head again, however, after they fired blanks just a few days after hitting Middlesbrough for six.
Asked if signing a striker in what remains of the January transfer window represented a priority, Pochettino added: ‘Yes, but for both sides, no?
‘They have amazing players in attack, different players, and they didn’t score and we kept a clean sheet. These types of games are even and of course when you face a team like Aston Villa, it is always difficult. Of course, we didn’t score but we created chances.
‘I trust and believe in my players, for sure, playing this way, we are going to score.
‘We came from Tuesday where we scored six. I think the keeper is an amazing keeper, Emiliano, he was really, really good.
‘Yes, sometimes you need some luck to score.’