Mason Mount insisted England have to improve in front of goal following their 0-0 draw at home to Italy in the Nations League on Saturday.

England sit bottom of Group 3 after Saturday's goalless draw at the Molineux Stadium, which was played behind closed doors after fan trouble during the Euro 2020 final between the two sides.

The Three Lions' only goal over these opening three games came via the penalty spot, with Harry Kane converting in the closing stages of their eventual 1-1 draw away to Germany.

According to Mount, the creation of chances would be more of an issue than their realisation but England still have to be able to capitalise after a second draw in three games.

"It is frustrating," he told Channel 4 post-match. "Obviously we want to win, we want to create chances and score goals. I probably should have done better with my chance, we had a few other chances, so it is something we need to look at.

"We have created chances but we should have done better with them. We are keeping clean sheets so it is something that is a positive but we need to keep working at it.

"We have had chances today and we probably should have scored, but sometimes you go through little periods where it is difficult. The only thing we can do is keep working hard in training, staying focused and look where we can improve. We have the players to do that, the talent and quality, just work at it."

Predominantly playing in an attacking three in Thomas Tuchel's 3-4-3 for Chelsea, Mount has seemingly found more freedom at international level as a conventional number 10.

Though deployed in a similar role to club level for their opening defeat to Hungary, England boss Gareth Southgate reverted to the 4-2-3-1, with the 23-year-old hinting he's more comfortable with the latter despite the result.

"I was in a 10 role so it gave me freedom to roam and find spaces, trying to link the midfield to the attacking boys," he said afterwards.

"I found myself in spaces to shoot a couple of time but did not to do well enough from my shot and it was too easy for the keeper. It is a difficult one to take because I feel we could have come away with more.

"We want to win every game, even if it is a friendly. We have looked at the last two games, felt confident in what we do but it is a tough one."

Manchester United and Chelsea are experiencing significant transformation this off-season, albeit for varying reasons.

While the Red Devils undertake yet another rebuild under a new manager, Chelsea are in the midst of ownership takeover.

It is reportedly creating the perfect storm for a shock transfer.

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE SHOCK MOVE FOR MOUNT

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is considering a move for Chelsea midfielder  Mason Mount according to the Sun.

The England international has seen talks for a renewed contract at Stamford Bridge stall, amid the prolonged takeover of the club by Todd Boehly.

In dire need to rebuild his midfield, and following Mount since his loan spell with Vitesse Arnhem, Ten Hag has reportedly already relayed United's interest with Mount's camp.

Liverpool and Manchester City have also made enquiries for Mount meanwhile, who according to reports, remains one of Chelsea's lowest-paid players. 

ROUND-UP

– Liverpool are tracking Rennes forward Martin Terrier as a replacement for Sadio Mane should he depart, according to the Mirror.

Barcelona boss Xavi has held talks with Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves over a potential transfer, per Sport.

Oleksandr Zinchenko is attracting interest from Everton and Newcastle United, the Athletic reports.

– The Guardian are reporting that Inter are exploring the possibility of a return for Romelu Lukaku.

Mason Mount revealed Chelsea's dressing room response to a blip in form following Wednesday's 3-0 win at Leeds United.

Coming off three games in the Premier League without a win, dropping points to Manchester United, Everton and Wolves, Chelsea responded strongly and got off to a fast start.

Mount was among the scorers for the Blues, getting on the scoresheet in only the fourth minute, before Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku added second-half goals against the 10-man hosts.

The 23-year-old divulged how a strong start at Elland Road was imperative following an honest dissection of recent performances, coming into Saturday's FA Cup final against Liverpool.

“We spoke about how big this week was at the beginning – it didn't start well obviously last Saturday,” Mount told Sky Sports.

“We needed a bounce back. We had a few days to get together and speak within the group, some truths that needed to be said and we got that out of our system.

“This was a game where we could get going, we know what’s coming up next. It’s a massive, massive game and this is a good step towards that."

Mount had only scored in two Premier League matches in 2022 coming into Wednesday's win, with one against Norwich in March and a brace at Southampton in April.

The England international also revealed how he reveled in the famously hostile atmosphere at Elland Road, asserting how his early goal allowed the collective to breathe against the relegation-threatened home side.

"It was a fun one," he said. "I do love playing here, it's obviously a stadium with a lot of history. The fans are brilliant, they don't like us too much so it was a good atmosphere. As soon as we got the goal we kind of quietened the stadium down, and then we could play our stuff.

"I was reading the program before the game and it said, 'Make this stadium as hard to play in as possible,' or something like that. So when you're coming here you know it's going to be tough.

"It was a massive game for both teams. It wasn't just them it was us as well. We needed a win after a few poor results, so it was a bounce-back game tonight, and then to Liverpool to Saturday."

Chelsea warmed up for Saturday's FA Cup final with a 3-0 win at 10-man Leeds United that edges Thomas Tuchel's side closer to Champions League qualification.

The world champions could have been forgiven for having one eye on their Wembley date with Liverpool, but they were in control and in the lead even before Dan James was sent off midway through the first half.

Dan James followed suspended team-mate Luke Ayling in earning a reckless red card, giving relegation-threatened Leeds a mountain to climb having already conceded to Mason Mount.

Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku subsequently wrapped up victory, moving Chelsea in third eight points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, who have three games to play.

A makeshift Leeds defence missing a natural full-back in Ayling's absence had been quickly exploited by Chelsea, whose first real foray brought the fourth-minute opener as Reece James teed up Mount for a fine finish high past Illan Meslier.

Staying at 1-0 longer than appeared likely at that stage, Leeds looked to have successfully seen out a spell of relentless Chelsea pressure when Dan James thundered into a challenge on Mateo Kovacic – winning the ball before planting his studs into the midfielder's ankle – and was dismissed.

Lukaku soon had a goal ruled out for offside and then directed a header just wide of the left-hand post as the visitors sought to capitalise.

They were made to wait until 10 minutes into the second half, when Mount's flick gave Pulisic space on the edge of the box to pick out the bottom-left corner.

Pulisic and Lukaku each fired narrowly wide, before the latter finally got his goal after patiently steadying himself in the area, with Leeds – already in the relegation zone on goal difference – surely grateful simply to avoid further damage.

What does it mean? Old foes heading in opposite directions

Chelsea may have endured a wobble prior to this match, but they will almost certainly be playing in the Champions League next term while Leeds may well be in the Championship.

Although Elland Road has not always been a happy hunting ground for the Blues – this was just their sixth league win at Leeds – it holds no fear for visiting sides this season. The Whites have now conceded 37 home league goals this season, only once previously (46 in 1959-60) shipping more in a top-flight campaign.

Leeds lose their heads... again

Leeds surpassed Sunderland's single-season record for Premier League yellow cards at Arsenal, but their lack of discipline was most evident in Ayling's awful lunge on Gabriel Martinelli. Sadly, Jesse Marsch's men did not appear to learn from that incident, with Dan James similarly rash on Kovacic.

While the Chelsea man must hope for a swift recovery to be fit for the cup final, Leeds become the first Premier League team to earn 100 cards in a single season and just the eighth side to have a player sent off in the first half of consecutive matches. Far from ideal in the thick of a relegation battle.

Magnificent Mount tops the charts

This was the seventh career Premier League match in which Mount has provided both a goal and an assist – three of which have come since the start of March – and boosted him to 11 goals and 10 assists for the season.

Those 21 top-flight goal involvements, topping Mount's previous career high of 12, are the joint-most of all English players in the division in 2021-22 (also Harry Kane).

What's next?

Chelsea's focus turns to Liverpool at Wembley, by which point they could be sure of a top-four finish if Tottenham do not beat Arsenal on Thursday. Leeds host Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

If the battle for supremacy in your fantasy leagues is anything like as tight as the Premier League title race, there is no room for error.

That might encourage some managers to play it safe and stick with what they know, but the very best know how rewarding a risk can be.

So, should you wish to gamble and shuffle the pack, why not be guided by Stats Perform's Opta-powered picks?

Four players for the coming matchweek are highlighted below for your consideration...

MARTIN DUBRAVKA (Norwich City v Newcastle United)

It is probably safe to assume that at least until the turn of the year, few fantasy managers were relying on a Newcastle goalkeeper. Not only did the Magpies give three different keepers a run between the posts, but they conceded a Premier League record 80 goals in the calendar year of 2021.

However, it is all change in 2022. In fact, only Alisson (nine) and Ederson (seven) have kept more clean sheets than Dubravka (five) this year, with the Newcastle man now on six for the season.

He has conceded 13 goals over this spell (12 excluding own goals), but five of those came in a single match at Tottenham – and it is tough to imagine struggling Norwich similarly picking apart a now resolute Newcastle defence.

ALEX TELLES (Arsenal v Manchester United)

There may be plenty of movement of United players out of XIs this week, with none of those involved in Tuesday's 4-0 defeat at Liverpool emerging with any credit. However, Telles played no part from the bench.

Given how hapless that new-look United back line looked, it is hard to see how Telles will not come into the side four days later – and he has earned his place both in Rangnick's team and your fantasy selections.

No United player can better the left-back's three assists in 2022, with only Bruno Fernandes (35) and Jadon Sancho (21) creating more than his 13 chances.

MASON MOUNT (Chelsea v West Ham)

Chelsea will also be looking to make amends in a big game after their own shocking midweek defeat, but Mount at least continued his fine form against Arsenal, adding an assist after scoring two and creating another in his previous league outing at Southampton.

The England midfielder now has 10 goals and nine assists in the top flight this term, meaning he could soon become the first Chelsea player to reach double-figures in both categories since Eden Hazard in 2018-19 (16 goals and 15 assists). He would also be the youngest Blues man to achieve the feat at 23, with Juan Mata 24 in 2012-13 (10 goals and 10 assists).

Whether Mount gets the assist to reach that mark this weekend or not, only Mohamed Salah (34), Son Heung-min (23) and Harry Kane (20) have more than his 19 goal involvements this season, so expect him to plunder fantasy points one way or another.

IVAN TONEY (Brentford v Tottenham)

Tottenham may head into the weekend in fourth, but few will confidently back against Brentford. Spurs have lost their past five away London derbies, while only Chelsea have won more points in clashes between capital clubs this season than the Bees (14).

And if Brentford are to add to landmark victories over Arsenal and Chelsea with another against Tottenham, Toney is highly likely to have a key role to play, having scored eight goals and created another two in 2022.

Only Son (nine) – an opponent on Saturday – has netted more in this calendar year, although Kane (15) beats both for goal involvements.

Chelsea star Mason Mount believes it is time for the Blues to win a final at Wembley.

Thomas Tuchel's side recovered from Champions League extra-time heartbreak against Real Madrid by coasting past Crystal Palace to reach a third successive FA Cup final on Sunday.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek struck with 25 minutes remaining as he slammed in his first Chelsea goal since May 2019, while Mount made sure of victory with a second nine minutes later.

The pair became the first English duo to score in a club game at Wembley for the Blues since Peter Houseman and Ian Hutchinson netted in the 1970 FA Cup final against Leeds United.

However, Mount does not have too many fond memories of England's national stadium, where he has lost an EFL Cup and two FA Cup finals, along with the Euro 2020 showpiece with England.

The 23-year-old was also a part of Derby County's Championship play-off final side that lost to Aston Villa in 2018-19, taking his tally at Wembley to five losses – a record he wants to overturn.

"It is a game we used to bounce back. It was a very, very tough game. They made it very difficult for us. They have some top players. It wasn't easy," he told ITV Sport after the game.

"The way we came through it we showed character.

"I am buzzing for Rubes [Loftus-Cheek]. He is a top, top player. He comes on in a difficult game and steps up. He is dominant and the way he drives the ball forward helps us. He was brilliant today.

"Timo Werner is brilliant, he has done so well the last couple of games. He had a chance in the second half that he missed but then ran all the way back to win the ball and that shows the player he is.

"It is time for us to win a final at Wembley. It is five finals I have lost, so we have to put the pressure on us to step up."

Chelsea now have to overcome Liverpool, who defeated the Blues on penalties in the EFL Cup final in February.

Indeed, it will be just the second time two sides will contest both the EFL Cup and FA Cup final in the same campaign after 1992-93, when Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday did so, with the Gunners winning both trophies that year.

Chelsea secured their place in a third successive FA Cup final after second-half goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount clinched the 2-0 defeat of Crystal Palace at Wembley on Sunday.

The Blues have made something of a habit of reaching the FA Cup showpiece in recent years, contesting four of the past five, and while this semi-final win was by means vintage, Thomas Tuchel's side looked comfortable once they found the breakthrough.

Neither side showed much inspiration in attack during a cagey opening 45 minutes and there were few signs of improvement initially after the interval.

But a couple of kind deflections helped substitute Loftus-Cheek break the deadlock just past the hour for his first Chelsea goal since May 2019, and Mount's finish soon after ensured the Blues will face Liverpool for the trophy.

It took 35 minutes for a dull first half to come to life as Edouard Mendy did brilliantly to save a goal-bound volley from his Senegal team-mate Cheikhou Kouyate down to his left.

Kai Havertz attempted to win a penalty with a dive at the other end a few moments later, but referee Anthony Taylor saw through his deception and brandished a yellow card.

Kouyate went close again early in the second half when a header flew agonisingly off target and Chelsea capitalised in the 65th minute.

Havertz's cutback was diverted into Loftus-Cheek's path and another touch off a Palace defender took the midfielder's powerful strike out of Jack Butland's reach.

Mount wrapped things up 14 minutes from time, tucking a neat finish into the bottom-right corner after good work from Timo Werner, with Romelu Lukaku's dreadful late miss proving irrelevant.

Karim Benzema's extra-time goal put Real Madrid into the Champions League semi-finals despite a 3-2 defeat to holders Chelsea on Tuesday.

Goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner overturned Real Madrid’s 3-1 advantage from the first leg last week, but Rodrygo’s sublime volley forced the tie into extra time.

Benzema, who scored a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge, had the final say, though, thundering home a header six minutes into extra time to seal a 5-4 aggregate victory. 

Carlo Ancelotti's side will now face either Atletico Madrid or Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola’s side holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

Chelsea's strong start was rewarded in the 15th minute when Mount curled past Thibaut Courtois from just inside the penalty area after latching onto Werner's nudged ball forward.

Madrid struggled to break Chelsea's stubborn backline down in the first half, with Ancelotti's men going in at the break without a shot on target to their name. 

Chelsea levelled the tie on aggregate six minutes into the second half, Rudiger planting a powerful header past Courtois from Mount's cross. 

Alonso thought he had edged Chelsea in front 11 minutes later when he thumped into the top corner from eight yards, yet his effort was ruled out for handball following a VAR check. 

Benzema crashed a header against the crossbar soon after, before Werner put Chelsea ahead on aggregate in the 75th minute with a strike that proved too hot for Courtois to handle. 

Madrid clawed their way back into the tie with 10 minutes remaining, though, as Rodrygo, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, steered a superb volley past Edouard Mendy from Luka Modric's breathtaking cross. 

That set the stage for Benzema's decisive goal in additional time, the France international heading past Mendy from 10 yards out following fine work down the left by Vinicius Junior. 

 

Timo Werner and Mason Mount registered doubles as Chelsea dismantled Southampton and claimed an outstanding 6-0 victory at St Mary's in the Premier League on Saturday. 

Following the disappointment of home losses to Brentford in the Premier League and Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals in their previous two outings, Chelsea were back on song on the south coast. 

Marcos Alonso, Mount, Werner and Kai Havertz all hit the back of the net as Thomas Tuchel's side blew Saints away and surged into a four-goal lead inside just 31 minutes. 

Werner and Mount were on target early in the second half to complete the rout and open up an eight-point gap to fifth-placed Arsenal, who lost at home to Brighton and Hove Albion. 

The pressure from Chelsea was incessant early on and they took the lead when Alonso drilled home a cushioned pass from Mount, who rifled in a brilliant second from 20 yards. 

After hitting the woodwork twice, Werner finally had a goal when he pounced on a loose header from James Ward-Prowse at the halfway line and held off Jan Bednarek before rounding Fraser Forster. 

Havertz tucked home a simple finish in the 31st minute when Werner's shot came back off the upright, and only a trio of strong saves from Forster stopped the gap increasing before half-time. 

The onslaught continued after the break with Werner rolling the ball into an empty net after Forster parried N'Golo Kante's dink straight to him. 

Edouard Mendy kept Che Adams at bay on a rare Saints attack and Chelsea punished his miss when Mount converted on the follow-up after Forster kept Christian Pulisic and Werner out. 

Alonso and Reece James went close but Southampton were able to get to the final whistle without conceding another goal, though Chelsea's confidence will have been sufficiently boosted before their second leg against Madrid. 

What does it mean? Chelsea's rip-roaring start makes the difference 

With Alonso, Mount and Werner finding the net in the opening 21 minutes, Chelsea had their earliest three-goal lead ever in a Premier League away game. 

It was four 10 minutes later, meaning they were the quickest to reach that tally away from home in a top-flight game since October 2011, when Chelsea needed just 27 minutes at Bolton Wanderers. 

The incredible start meant the game was all but done by half-time and Chelsea were able to cruise to the final whistle. 

Mount on top 

In a little over a quarter of an hour, Mount had a goal and an assist for Chelsea. It was the fifth time he has scored and set up another in the same game this season, with Mohamed Salah (also five) the only player to match him. 

Another Hasenhuttl horror show 

Southampton conceded at least four goals in a single half for the 21st time in their Premier League history. Seven of those instances have now come under Ralph Hasenhuttl. 

What's next? 

Chelsea travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Madrid, while Southampton have a week to recover before the visit of Arsenal in the Premier League. 

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount admits he is concerned by the uncertainty surrounding a takeover at the club

Blues owner Roman Abramovich, who was sanctioned by the UK government following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, put the club up for sale earlier this month.

Abramovich subsequently had his assets frozen due to his close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, but can still apply for a special licence to sell the club.

A number of interested parties – including British billionaire and boyhood Blues fan Nick Candy, and the Chicago Cubs owners, the Ricketts family – stepped forward with offers, as well as Centricus – headed by Nizar Al-Bassam and Garth Ritchie.

Mount is currently on international duty with England, for whom he played in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Switzerland at Wembley.

And the Chelsea academy graduate, who is the Blues' top scorer in the Premier League this season with eight goals, is hopeful the situation at his club can be resolved as quickly as possible.

"I've been at the club since I was six years old and something like this has not happened before, so it can be a concern," he said.

"At the beginning, and even now, we don't really know where it’s going and what’s happening the next day. When I'm away with England, that stuff is kind of parked.

"The break probably does help and hopefully by the time we go back, some things are sorted out, or we have some answers about what's going on. But we'll see."

Thomas Tuchel hailed the Chelsea players' response to the current takeover speculation after his side secured their FA Cup semi-final spot with a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough.

Boro knocked out Premier League sides Manchester United and Tottenham to reach the last eight, but Chelsea dominated throughout at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku poked home after 15 minutes and Hakim Ziyech doubled the visitors' lead shortly after as the Blues progressed from quarter-finals for the 16th time in their previous 20 last-eight ties.

It was Chelsea's fifth straight win across all competitions since owner Roman Abramovich, who has been sanctioned by the United Kingdom government and the European Union (EU) in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, announced his intentions to sell the club on March 2.

Chelsea also coasted to victory with no away fans in attendance due to the sanctions imposed on Abramovich, and Tuchel was delighted.

"We were very focused and very serious from the beginning," Tuchel told BBC Sport.

"We showed quality in decisive moments and scored two early goals which gave us a comfortable lead, but the effort was huge to not allow big chances. I'm very happy, it was a very deserved win.

"I'm impressed with the players' focus. We accepted the [ownership] situation because we didn't cause it. It isn't in our hands, but it was important we showed the right spirit and took responsibility.

"This is very, very good. If you have the talent, it is a responsibility to show it."

Mason Mount, whose two assists took him to 50 direct goal involvements for Chelsea across all competitions, also echoed Tuchel's comments.

"Middlesbrough have been on an unbelievable run, you've seen the teams they've beat recently in the cup, so it was never going to be a comfortable night," he said.

"We didn't have many fans here tonight but I felt that we let our football do the talking. We played some good stuff, and that was the main goal for us tonight.

"We really have that winning mentality within the group. Any competition, any game, we want to win, and we want to keep that going. It's been a tough couple of weeks but for us, as a team, we're just focused and ready to play.

"We're so hungry for a domestic title, we just need to keep going. It's not been the best of runs for us at Wembley but we want to right that wrong.

"We've already had one final at Wembley this season and lost it so we're hungry to win [the semi-final]."

Chelsea secured their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Boro overcame Manchester United and Tottenham to reach the last eight, but Thomas Tuchel's Premier League side did not have such difficulties at the Riverside Stadium.

Romelu Lukaku needed just 15 minutes to open the scoring before Hakim Ziyech added a second in the first half, while Boro managed only one shot on target, which came in the 85th minute, in response.

Chelsea will now wait to find out the identity of their semi-final opponent in Sunday's last-four draw, with the ties set to take place across April 16 and 17 at Wembley Stadium.

 

Mason Mount's early cross just escaped the despairing dive of Christian Pulisic at the back post, but Chelsea were ahead shortly after.

A sweeping move out from defence offered space down the right for Mount, who whipped across for Lukaku to tap-in.

Ziyech doubled the lead 16 minutes later when he finished into the bottom-left corner from outside the area following an offload from Mount.

Mount's second assist of the game took him to 50 goal involvements for Chelsea across all competitions, while Anfernee Dijksteel cleared off the line from Lukaku before the break.

Folarin Balogun wastefully curled over and Duncan Watmore missed the target in similar fashion as Chris Wilder's side ramped up the intensity early in the second half.

Joe Lumley then denied a flicked Timo Werner header from Mount's inswinging free-kick and Edouard Mendy turned away from Watmore as Chelsea eased to victory.

What does it mean? Blues keep double hopes alive

The Premier League title appears a distant dream for Chelsea, who are third in the league, after Manchester City and Liverpool turned the race into a two-team affair.

But Tuchel's reigning European champions remain in contention to defend their Champions League title – facing Real Madrid in the quarter-finals – and are still in the hunt for the FA Cup, after progressing from the last eight for the 16th time in their last 20 quarter-final attempts.

Lovely Lukaku

Lukaku has now had a direct hand in four goals against Boro across all competitions (three goals, one assist).

His first-half strike was also his 16th FA Cup finish since his debut in January 2012 – with only Sergio Aguero (20) finding the net more times in the competition during that period.

Barren Boro run against Blues

Since recording consecutive Premier League wins over Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in 2006, Boro have lost all nine of their meetings against the Blues in all competitions.

Chelsea have recorded 21 goals during that nine-game winning run, with Boro not managing to breach the Blues' defence once in response.

What's next?

Chelsea return to Premier League action after the international break at home to Brentford on April 2, while Middlesbrough visit Peterborough in the Championship on the same day.

Mason Mount explained on Thursday how difficult it had been for Chelsea's players not to be distracted by the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich was named as one of seven Russian oligarchs to have his assets frozen by the UK government due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with a statement calling the Chelsea owner a "prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch".

A government statement said: "Abramovich is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades."

The sanctions mean Chelsea's potential sale has been put on hold, with further restrictions banning merchandise sales and tickets to non-season-ticket holders.

This news came on the same day Chelsea travelled to Norwich City for a Premier League match.

Although the Blues won 3-1 to consolidate third place in the table, midfielder Mount – who both scored and assisted goals – acknowledged the precarious situation with Abramovich had been a factor.

"You can't really avoid it, as there's a lot going on," Mount told BBC Sport.

"We have to focus on what we do on the pitch. We had a game today and that was the only thing we could focus on. 

"We did that today, so now it's about Sunday. You try not to look too much into it."

Chelsea host Newcastle United on Sunday in their first game at Stamford Bridge since these developments.

Chelsea's off-field uncertainty was no barrier to victory over struggling Norwich City on Thursday as the Blues left Carrow Road with a 3-1 win.

The British government earlier confirmed Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had his assets frozen as part of its sanctions against high-profile Russian individuals and entities in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

These sanctions were imposed just as Abramovich was attempting to sell the club, meaning Chelsea's future is shrouded in uncertainty, but on the pitch at least it was business as usual to a degree.

Trevoh Chalobah and Mason Mount had Chelsea two up inside 14 minutes, though their second-half performance offered Norwich encouragement with Teemu Pukki pulling one back from the spot.

But a Norwich comeback never materialised as Kai Havertz put the game beyond them late on to keep the Canaries bottom, while Chelsea moved eight points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal. 

Considering Norwich's poor defensive record, Chelsea were always going to get chances – they just may not have expected an opener to come so soon.

Feeble Norwich defending saw Chalobah nudge home from close range after Mount's delivery in the third minute, and it was 2-0 not long after.

The excellent Havertz pulled the ball back to Mount on the edge of the box, and following a drop of the shoulder, he exquisitely found the top-right corner.

Chelsea's intensity dropped after the break, though it was not until the 69th minute that their lead looked under threat, as Pukki coolly slid home a penalty after Chalobah handled a cross from lively substitute Milot Rashica.

Norwich's hopes of a late turnaround were dashed in the 90th minute, Havertz picking out the top-left corner with aplomb.

 

What does it mean? On-pitch stability vital for Tuchel

There is nothing Tuchel and his players can do about the chaos that is encircling Chelsea. All of that will be played out in the boardroom.

But the last thing they need now would be a wobble on the pitch, as they could quickly begin to slide down the Premier League table.

While the next few weeks – at least – look set to be challenging for Chelsea in almost every sense, this was at least a victory that prevented questions of being asked of the players' mentalities.

Mount the instigator

Although he was slightly quieter in the second half, Mount deserves recognition for his all-round performance. The midfielder was a major attacking threat, having an involvement in two of Chelsea goals, while his four shots and five key passes were match highs – only twice before has he set up more chances in a single Premier League game.

Rachica brought hope for Norwich

Norwich were massively improved in the second half, with Havertz's late strike arguably flattering the visitors. Rashica was key to the hosts' showing after the break with a lively display on the left flank, his two key passes the most of any player in yellow – it was also his cross that led to the penalty.

What's next?

Chelsea welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, while Norwich head to out-of-form Leeds United the same day.

Mason Mount has been ruled out of Chelsea's next two matches with a foot injury, but Thomas Tuchel is pushing for the midfielder to return in time for next week's EFL Cup final.

England international Mount limped off in the first half of Chelsea's Club World Cup final victory against Palmeiras last weekend after damaging ligaments in his ankle.

That was the 23-year-old's 34th appearance of the season in all competitions, level with Antonio Rudiger for the most of any Chelsea player.

Mount's 15 direct goal involvements this season are the most of any Blues player, the England international having scored seven and assisted eight.

Tuchel is therefore eager to get Mount back to fitness in time for the EFL Cup final with Liverpool at Wembley on February 27.

Asked for an update on when Mount could return, Tuchel said at a news conference on Friday: "We will push for the EFL Cup final. We will push. 

"He has injured ligaments. Returning against Lille in the Champions League [on Tuesday] seems very, very close, but we will try hard for the EFL Cup final."

Tuchel also confirmed ahead of Saturday's trip to London rivals Crystal Palace that Reece James – who has not played since December – is set to return to training next week.

Cesar Azpilicueta is therefore expected to fill in once again on the right-hand side of the defence against Palace, a week on from lifting the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

The Spain international has won every trophy available at club level with Chelsea, but he is set to become a free agent at the end of the campaign.

Tuchel remains a big fan of the long-serving defender, who has racked up more than 450 appearances for the club.

"He's always important; he has been super important since day one," Tuchel said. "We had a good connection from the first day.

"He gets better with every game he plays, he leads by example, which is always super nice to have.

"Now he has collected so many trophies and an incredible career at one club which is outstanding.

"He embodies everything that Chelsea stands for, being relentless, humble and a warrior at the same time. I'm happy to have him."

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