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Steve Holland on the win, individual performances and injuries


Chelsea assistant first team coach Steve Holland was delighted after the 2-0 win against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.

The Magpies started the game better and went close to take the lead in the first half but an improved Chelsea side made sure of all three points to move two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

"The second half was better than the first half," Holland explained.

"Our performance level has been very good and consistent this year. In the first half we dropped below that, Jose was very clear to the players at half-time with what they needed to do, and the performance in the second half was more like the Chelsea we're used to seeing week in, week out.

"In the end it was a fairly comfortable win, which didn't look like it would be the case at half-time.

"The second goal in particular was very typical of our play around the penalty area. Oscar deserves credit for scoring the first goal and assisting the second, two big impacts on the game.

"It's very difficult to hit the levels people expect every week, particularly in this country because we play so many matches, especially at this time of year.

"The players have had a real battering over Christmas and to reach the level everybody wants to see week in, week out is almost impossible."

Defender Kurt Zouma made his Premier League debut for the Blues and Holland says it shows that the club has faith in the squad's youngsters.

"The club gets a lot of stick for not giving young players a go, Kurt Zouma is 20 and that wasn't his first performance of the season but he was immaculate today," a delighted Holland said.

"We all have belief in him but ultimately Jose, as the leader and manager, has to make the decisions, and he showed great faith in him today by starting him. That faith was repaid, I thought he was immaculate and I can't think of one thing he did wrong."

Meanwhile, Holland says defender Cesar Azpilicueta will be assessed in the coming days after suffering a groin injury.

"He has a slight groin issue," the 44-year-old said.

"We don't think it's a major problem but we'll know more when they do the scans in the next few days."

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Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Steve Holland