After Chelsea’s goalless draw with Liverpool on Tuesday, interim head coach Bruno Saltor praised his players for their response to recent difficulties.
Despite missing several clear chances to win, including a disallowed goal by Kai Havertz due to a VAR review, the team showed cause for optimism in their performance, limiting Liverpool to just two shots inside their area.
Although Chelsea remains in the bottom half of the Premier League table and failed to score for the sixth time in a home league game this season, Bruno expressed his pride in their efforts.
“I asked the players to play with their hearts and I think we saw that,” the Spaniard told Sky Sports. “We gave everything, we created chances. We scored twice, one offside and one handball.
“I think it was a big performance from the boys, it’s a good start for them after some difficult, emotional days.
“They were able to keep themselves focused, to use their heads and their hearts as well, so credit to them.
“It’s been a really difficult season for them. To come back from the news we had in the last few days is incredible.
“It shows they are able to focus on the moment and on performing well. They have to be proud of themselves.”
One major positive for Chelsea came in the form of N’Golo Kante, who gave an energetic performance as he captained the side on his first league start since last August.
Kante won five of his seven duels and was successful with all three of his attempted tackles, but Bruno believes being able to lean on his experience is equally crucial for Chelsea.
“He’s outstanding,” Bruno said of Kante. “Both with what he brings to the team in terms of football, and what he brings in terms of leadership. He’s a massive plus for the team.”
With the appointment of Potter’s long-term successor not believed to be imminent, Bruno was asked if he expects to be in place for Saturday’s trip to Wolves, but the 42-year-old is taking things day by day.
“I expect to go home now and rest, then go game by game,” he said. “That’s what we are trying to do, trying to be as professional as we can, help the club, and present the best that we can.
“It’s a difficult situation, but I think everyone is doing the best they can. We just need to relax, be calm and assess the boys. I know it sounds boring, but it’s a day-by-day job.
“The only thing I can say is I’m happy for the first performance, but it’s what they [the players] deserve. It’s credit to them, it’s not credit to me.“