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Mourinho gives his verdicts on teenagers Kurt Zouma, Nathan Aké, and Dominic Solanke

Shaun Botterill

Tuesday was special in a few different ways.  Though the three points were expected, gaining them through our biggest ever Champions League win perhaps was not.  And we managed all that while having up to three teenagers on the pitch, even.  Kurt Zouma, one week shy of his 20th birthday, got just his second start for the Blues.  Nathan Aké, also 19, played most of the second half for his second appearance of the year (10th of his career).  And 17-year-old Dominic Solanke made his debut a few days after he came within a few seconds (and one conceded goal) of doing so against Crystal Palace.  A successful day all around then, yes?

"It's always better to play them [the youngsters] when the situation is good. Kurt Zouma is ready to play any match but because I want to give stability to the team I've played Terry and Cahill since the first game. The same thing has happened to him that happened to Raphael Varane, I gave him his debut in the Champions League at the same age, Zouma is a player we trust a lot."

"Nathan Ake is at another level, he's almost there, and Solanke is at a level where we know he has the talent but he's far away. For him it was a perfect situation; the legs were tired even before he came on, the heartbeat was there before the first run but it's a night he will never forget. For sure, he's going to play many Champions League matches because he will be a good player."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

This isn't the first, nor probably the last time Varane's name will be brought up when talking about Zouma and Mourinho.  Hopefully the references will stay positive, and Zouma carves out a similar key role for Jose at Chelsea as Varane did at Real Madrid.  Should Cahill's recent struggles continue or even worsen, we just need to clap our hands because here's Happy!

It also sounds like Aké will continue to get some opportunities (nice assist for Hazard's second, fella) as he works to get to the next level.  But those wishing to see a bold move such as Dom Solanke starting this weekend against Manchester United should probably temper their expectations.

Overall, well done all three and, of course, well done everybody!  What a lovely Tuesday night that was!

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