Ross Barkley said his penalty miss in Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Valencia would not have kept him from taking another spot-kick because he swiftly brushed off the disappointment.

Frank Lampard's men fell behind to Rodrigo Moreno's 74th-minute strike in the Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, and the Blues boss sent Barkley on as a substitute six minutes later.

The England international had been on the field for just seven minutes when his side won a penalty and he stepped up despite Willian and Jorginho both appearing to stake their claims to take it.

Barkley's spot-kick grazed the top of the crossbar on its way over and Chelsea began their European campaign with a defeat, but the midfielder told reporters: "If there was another penalty in the game I would have been confident of taking it.

"You can miss penalties. It's not the end of the world.

"We've got five more group games to go that we're aiming to win."

While backing himself to convert penalties in the future, Barkley said his team-mates were not vying to take the kick before he stepped up.

"We've got a lot of good penalty takers in the squad," said Barkley. "On a sheet in the changing room, it says I'm on penalties when I'm on the pitch, otherwise it's Jorginho.

"All players feel confident of taking penalties, but we can all miss them. It's more 'good luck with the penalty' type of thing, encouraging me. They would have been willing to take it as well, but I felt confident.

"They were just encouraging me, encouraging me to score the goal. They are confident of taking penalties as well, but I take penalties every day.

"I don't miss them in training and in pre-season I was scoring penalties. I've missed penalties before, when I was at Everton.

"I'm gutted I missed, but these things happen."

Willian has confirmed he asked to take the crucial penalty which Ross Barkley failed to convert in Chelsea's Champions League loss to Valencia on Tuesday.

England international Barkley skimmed his attempt off the top of the crossbar in the 87th minute of the Premier League side's 1-0 home loss.

The midfielder had been introduced from the bench seven minutes earlier and only settled over the spot-kick following a debate with starters Willian and Jorginho.

Blues boss Frank Lampard later revealed Barkley to be the designated penalty taker but experienced winger Willian had hoped to be entrusted with the chance.

"He was confident about taking it and I asked to take it too," Willian said.

"But he was confident. He ended up missing it. That could happen to me or any other player, like Jorginho who also takes the penalties.

"It is important he keeps his head up. When you win, you win together and when you lose, you lose together too."

Barkley's miss and Rodrigo Moreno's earlier goal for Valencia contributed to a difficult night for Chelsea, who lost Mason Mount to a leg injury.

The result left Lampard's men with work to do ahead of next month's trip to Ligue 1 side Lille, who were 3-0 losers to Ajax in Group H's other game.

"We expected a positive result," Willian said.

"We expected to start at home with a victory, but unfortunately we lost it. We have five games left to qualify. I think we have a chance, of course.

"We have to improve and we have to keep our heads up and keep working. We have everything in front of us."

Frank Lampard confirmed Ross Barkley is Chelsea's designated penalty taker after the England international missed a late spot-kick in a 1-0 loss to Valencia in the Champions League.

Lampard became the first Chelsea boss to lose his maiden Champions League match in charge, as Rodrigo Moreno's second-half goal earned Albert Celades a first win as Valencia coach.

Chelsea were handed a reprieve at Stamford Bridge when referee Cuneyt Cakir used VAR to deem Daniel Wass had purposefully handled Fikayo Tomori's header on Tuesday.

Substitute Barkley pulled rank over Willian and Jorginho, who appeared to be debating with the former Everton man, to take the penalty, only to send his effort over off the crossbar.

But Lampard affirmed Barkley – who took Chelsea's penalties throughout pre-season – is indeed the club's first-choice from 12 yards.

"Ross is the penalty taker. He was in pre-season and he scored a couple and he was when he came on," Lampard told a news conference.

"He has been when he started, was when he came on today and he missed it. That is the clear story.

"I don't know what the conversation was [between them]. Jorginho and Willian were the takers on the pitch but once Ross comes on, it's his and he missed it."

Lampard's side had control for much of the Group H opener, though Chelsea's defensive frailties were exposed when Rodrigo prodded in Dani Parejo's free-kick.

Chelsea's head coach, however, believes last season's Europa League champions would have been worthy winners.

"Probably a win, at least a draw. We created enough, good chances," Lampard, whose side will also face Ajax and Lille in Group H, said. 

"We concede with one shot on target. A game we played pretty well in and lost. For sure, losing at home first game makes it tough.

"In context, it's one game done and it's still a group that I think teams will take points off each other because all the teams are strong and will fancy themselves. There is certainly no reason to be too downbeat now, but we need to win games."

The victory comes as a timely one for Valencia, whose off-field issues culminated in the sacking of Marcelino last week, a move unpopular with the squad.

Marcelino's successor Celades, however, is not aiming to change the style of play too much, as long as the system works.

"I don't have that ego, I want to do my job and have no regrets and do my best," he told a news conference.

"We don't have a lot of time to train. We didn't want to lose too much of the good things. I have respect for everyone, but I want to talk about football.

"We have to focus on the future, it's a hard-fought win and a difficult one. Playing in the Champions League is something the players earned and they showed a lot of commitment and we have to be proud."

Cesar Azpilicueta has full confidence in Ross Barkley despite his late penalty miss in Chelsea's 1-0 Champions League defeat to Valencia.

Rodrigo Moreno's goal looked set to be cancelled out when the referee awarded Frank Lampard's Chelsea a penalty following a VAR check on Daniel Wass' handball. 

Barkley, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, stepped up for the spot-kick, taking rank over Chelsea team-mates Jorginho, Willian and Olivier Giroud in London on Tuesday.

Willian and Jorginho, in particular, were speaking with Barkley before he took the penalty, which clipped the crossbar on its way over in the Group H opener.

But Chelsea captain Azpilicueta insisted his team-mates were simply encouraging Barkley, not debating over who should take responsibility.

"Ross is one of the best penalty takers in the team, he's one of the players that take them," Azpilicueta said.

"He had the confidence to shoot, he has taken a few penalties which he has scored.

"We had more players with great capabilities from penalties but he had good confidence to shoot, he was unlucky to hit the bar and obviously he is disappointed to not get the goal to at least get a point.

"They were encouraging [him] to have the confidence to score, he had high expectation and high confidence to score, so we tried to give him the best conditions because we knew it would be decisive, sometimes it happens. We are lucky we have a lot of penalty takers."

Mason Mount's early injury added further frustration to a disappointing night for Chelsea, with the midfielder likely facing a race against time to be fit to feature against Liverpool – who were beaten 2-0 by Napoli – in the Premier League on Sunday.

Azpilicueta, however, firmly believes in the project Lampard – who is yet to secure his first home win as Chelsea head coach – is trying to implement at Stamford Bridge, despite a lack of experience within the Blues' ranks.

"We are trying to build something special, we know we have a young squad, young players coming through and experienced players in the team to try and create something for the future," Azpilicueta added.

"We are Chelsea, we also need to win and win every game every few days we play. When we don't win we get frustrated, disappointed and it's a lesson we have to learn as a team."

Ross Barkley missed a late penalty as Chelsea's Champions League campaign under Frank Lampard began with a 1-0 loss to Valencia in Group H.

Valencia's off-the-field issues have overshadowed their on-field exploits since Marcelino's sacking last week, but Albert Celades' side bounced back from their 5-2 defeat to Barcelona with a resilient performance at Stamford Bridge.

With Jasper Cillessen in fine form and Mason Mount's injury having compounded Chelsea's frustrations, the Blues' frailties were exposed once more when Rodrigo Moreno prodded in Dani Parejo's free-kick with16 minutes remaining.

VAR came to Chelsea's rescue when the referee decided to award the hosts a spot-kick for a Daniel Wass handball, but substitute Barkley - who overruled Willian to take the penalty - struck the bar.

Fresh from his hat-trick against Wolves, Tammy Abraham should have done better in the sixth minute when he latched onto Cesar Azpilicueta's cross - Cillessen making the save.

Chelsea were dealt a blow soon after, Mount's Champions League debut cut short as he failed to overcome an ankle injury inflicted by Francis Coquelin's robust challenge.

Willian's volley drew a brilliant stop out of Cillessen on the stroke of half-time and Valencia's goalkeeper had more work to do when he kept out Marcos Alonso's free-kick.

But just after Lampard had gambled in throwing on Olivier Giroud for Kurt Zouma, Valencia struck.

Having stole a march on his markers, Rodrigo just managed to make enough contact on Parejo's superb pass.

Chelsea's forutnes looked to have turned with four minutes remaining when referee Cuneyt Cakir handed them a lifeline having looked at the touch-line screen, but Barkley failed to keep his composure.


What does it mean? Injuries Mount up for Lampard

To add injury to insult, Lampard - who was already without Antonio Rudiger, Emerson and N'Golo Kante heading into Tuesday's match - could now be missing influential midfielder Mount for Liverpool's trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Rodrigo comes alive when it matters

Valencia's front two had hardly tested Kepa Arrizabalaga prior to Rodrigo's chance, but the Spain international made no mistake with a clinical finish.

Barkley's confidence misplaced

Barkley had only been on the pitch seven minutes when he stepped up to take the spot-kick, even though Willian seemed to want it, and there is sure to be an inquest in the Chelsea dressing room as to why the substitute pulled rank after a dismal attempt.

What's next?

The big games come thick and fast for Chelsea, with Premier League leaders Liverpool coming up, while Valencia face Leganes in LaLiga.

Frank Lampard said Chelsea could have avoided a "nervy" end to their 3-2 victory over Norwich City had they been more clinical, but nevertheless reserved special praise for two-goal striker Tammy Abraham.

Former Aston Villa and Swansea City loanee Abraham scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea after three minutes at Carrow Road and, after Todd Cantwell pulled one back for the hosts, Chelsea restored their lead through Mason Mount.

Teemu Pukki scored for the third consecutive match to pull Norwich level at half-time but Abraham hit the winner after 68 minutes, rattling a shot through Grant Hanley's legs and beyond Tim Krul to clinch the Blues' first league win of the season.

Lampard, who replaced Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea boss in the close season, has yet to see his charges keep a clean sheet in the league and he expressed his dissatisfaction with the goals Norwich scored.

But the former midfielder said the Blues had deserved more in their opening two league games - a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United and a 1-1 draw at home with Leicester City.

"It was a tough test and Norwich will get a lot of points here and give teams hard games as they are a very good side," Lampard told BT Sport.

"I think we played really well. The only thing I'd say is those were two goals we shouldn't be giving away, particularly the second one I didn't like, and we need to be more clinical.

"If we're more clinical, we take the game away from Norwich and we don't have the nervy last five or 10 minutes, but I thought there were lots of really good elements to our game and I'm pleased."

With Chelsea serving a transfer ban, Lampard relied on young players in his pre-season preparations and against Norwich he fielded the youngest Blues line-up in a Premier League game since February 1994, with an average age of 24 years and 208 days.

The manager had his faith in youth repaid by Abraham, who became the youngest player to score a top-flight brace for Chelsea since Mark Nicholls in January 1998.

"I'm pleased with them, particularly Tammy because it's his first goals for us, he's starting and competing, and he's [scored] two really good goals and the winning goal," Lampard said.

"But I don't want to just talk about them; I want to talk about all the players out there today because those conditions are hard. It's hot here against a good team and we absolutely controlled huge parts of the game.

"We need to win games. We're Chelsea, and nothing is a given in this league. Every year it seems to get harder and our performances haven't given us what we deserved so far, but today it did - it just could have been more comfortable."

Lampard drafted Ross Barkley into his starting line-up shortly before kick-off after Pedro suffered an injury, while Marcos Alonso had to come on for Mount in second-half stoppage time.

"Pedro felt his hamstring in the warm-up so there maybe a small strain there, whereas Mason had a kick on his calf, so it's better news than a strain of any sort and hopefully will recover," Lampard added.

When Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount fired Chelsea into the lead on a sunny afternoon at Norwich City, they became the first two English players aged 21 or under to score in a Premier League match for the Blues in 27 years.

Eddie Newton and Graham Stuart were the last pair to achieve the feat, back in August 1992, and since then Chelsea have become synonymous with international imports who flourish at the expense of academy graduates.

But the transformation taking place under Frank Lampard was epitomised by the manner of their early goals, first when Abraham had the poise and presence of mind to half-volley home in the third minute.

Mount's strike was even more emblematic of the spirit building at Stamford Bridge, the 20-year-old cutting inside his marker before rifling his second goal in as many games high into the net with all the confidence of a young player enjoying the freedom to express himself in a positive, attack-minded team.

That team was Chelsea's youngest in the Premier League since February 1994, with Ross Barkley's late inclusion as a replacement for Pedro bringing the average age down to 24 years and 208 days.

After defensive frailties and Norwich's opportunism pegged them back to 2-2 at half-time, Lampard's young charges swamped their hosts in the second half and, when they needed a winner, Abraham delivered with a fine finish from outside the box.

The goal capped a fine afternoon for Abraham and clinched a deserved Chelsea victory that left Blues supporters with several young, English reasons to be optimistic about the season ahead.

Abraham sets a precedent

Five goals in 31 appearances while on loan at Swansea City was Abraham's Premier League return prior to his second start of this season at Norwich and he converted his first opportunity of the afternoon with some style.

He went one better with his second, composing himself 20 yards from goal and shooting through the legs of Grant Hanley to beat Tim Krul and send a message not only to the rest of the division but to England manager Gareth Southgate.

Mount's ascent

Say it quietly, but Chelsea fans are starting to forget about Eden Hazard as Mount's abundant qualities apply ointment to the wound left by the Belgian's departure.

Goals in consecutive matches this season only tell part of the story, and what will delight Lampard as much as Mount's marksmanship is his intuitive interplay with Ross Barkley and Christian Pulisic.

Barkley bouncing back

England midfielder Barkley started just 13 league games under Maurizio Sarri last season and is by no means guaranteed his place under Lampard.

But if the 25-year-old continues to offer the leadership qualities and engine room presence that were key to Chelsea's first win of the season, he will be difficult for the boss to overlook.

More starlets on the sidelines

Promising defender Fiyako Tomori watched the win at Norwich from the bench but he knows Lampard trusts him after being a regular in the Derby County team last season.

Lampard will welcome Callum Hudson-Odoi back into the fold in September, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek a little further behind in his recovery from a ruptured Achilles, and the Blues could be fielding a half-home-grown team before long.

Patience required, but Lampard must plug the leaks

A first league win of the season will relieve some of the pressure that was starting to creep into Lampard's dugout, but Roman Abramovich is not known for his patience.

The Chelsea owner will be pleased for his former captain and belief in the new project may be growing, but after seeing his side leak seven goals in three games the now stay-away owner would be justified in asking for some clean sheets in exchange for his faith.

Ross Barkley scored an 86th-minute penalty as Chelsea came from two goals down to draw 2-2 in a friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

Alassane Plea swept home after an error from Kepa Arrizabalaga before Jonas Hofmann made the most of some disorganised defending to give Gladbach a two-goal advantage at half-time.

Yann Sommer made a string of excellent stops to keep Chelsea at bay but his goal was eventually breached by Tammy Abraham, who coolly slotted home from the penalty spot in the 59th minute.

The Blues were boosted ahead of their opening Premier League match against Manchester United next weekend by N'Golo Kante's return from a knee injury and Barkley ensured they did not sign off their pre-season campaign with a loss when he converted a late spot-kick.

Abraham was unable to finish when Oscar Wendt inadvertently put him one on one with Sommer and Gladbach moved ahead when Kepa sent a pass straight to Hofmann and the midfielder found Plea, who swept a fine finish into the bottom-left corner in the 13th minute.

Plea returned the favour six minutes before the break, the Frenchman's throughball poked between Kepa's legs by Hofmann after Andreas Christensen played him onside.

Chelsea came out firing in the second half but Sommer kept out Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount and Abraham twice, but the striker got on the scoreboard following Matthias Ginter's foul on Kovacic in the box.

Barkley replaced Abraham in the 66th minute and, after missing a glorious chance to restore parity when he shot wide in a one on one, he converted from the spot following Keanan Bennetts' late challenge on Mount to make it four goals in as many pre-season matches for the England international.

Kepa stopped Bennetts making amends with a smart save before the final whistle, with a draw proving a fair result in an entertaining encounter.

Antoine Griezmann made his Barcelona debut on Tuesday but was unable to prevent the LaLiga champions slipping to a 2-1 friendly defeat to Chelsea in Saitama.

World Cup winner Griezmann – who joined the club in a €120million move earlier this month – made little impact during his 45-minute appearance against Frank Lampard's side, who went in front through Tammy Abraham's 34th-minute goal.

Barcelona looked bright at the start of the second period before Ross Barkley's fine finish nine minutes from time sealed the win, despite Ivan Rakitic's late strike.

Chelsea continue their preparations for the 2019-20 season with a game against Championship side Reading on Sunday, while Barca take on Vissel Kobe – and their former player Andres Iniesta – a day earlier.

Barcelona could – and perhaps should – have gone ahead inside the opening minute but Oriol Busquets' header from eight yards sailed over Kepa Arrizabalaga's goal.

Abraham was equally wasteful in the 23rd minute, blazing a half-volley over from six yards after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had failed to hold Christian Pulisic's powerful strike.

The striker made up for that miss soon after, though, coolly rounding Ter Stegen and slotting into an empty net after Jorginho had cut out Sergio Busquets' sloppy pass on the edge of the penalty area.

Pulisic could have doubled their advantage five minutes before the interval but crashed a left-footed effort into the side netting, while a subdued Ousmane Dembele saw his low strike kept out by Kepa at the other end.

Barca were a team reborn after making 11 changes at the break, Rafinha, Carles Perez and Carles Alena all testing Kepa with low strikes in the opening stages of the second half.

Chelsea substitute Kenedy inexplicably headed well wide after latching onto Barkley's lofted pass but the England international made no mistake in the 81st minute, squeezing an effort inside Neto's right-hand post from 18 yards.

The Spanish side at least ended the game on a positive note, Rakitic thundering into the top corner from distance in stoppage time.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a suspected ankle injury in Chelsea's 3-0 friendly win over New England Revolution on Wednesday.

Maurizio Sarri's men continued their preparations for the Europa League final with a comfortable victory, but they were dealt an injury blow in the untimely charity friendly.

Loftus-Cheek, introduced at half-time, came off after appearing to hurt his ankle at Gillette Stadium.

The midfielder went down under a challenge and was in discomfort before being replaced in the 69th minute, the injury a blow ahead of the May 29 decider against Arsenal in Baku.

The friendly looked to be going well for Chelsea, with Ross Barkley scoring a brace to go with an Olivier Giroud header.

Barkley scored in the third minute before Giroud headed in Davide Zappacosta's cross just prior to the half-hour mark as Chelsea outclassed the MLS outfit.

Gonzalo Higuain, who struck the crossbar early in the second half, had an effort hit Barkley before going in to make it 3-0.

But Loftus-Cheek's ankle injury soured what was an otherwise comfortable outing for Chelsea.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has praised Ross Barkley for the improvements he has made to the defensive side of his game.

Barkley arrived at Stamford Bridge in January 2018 from Everton but was restricted to only a handful of appearances in his first campaign due to a series of injuries.

He has been in fine form this season, though, making 40 appearances across all competitions for Sarri's side and demonstrated his progress on Monday, scoring twice in England's 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Montenegro.

And now Sarri has hailed the 25-year-old for taking steps to become a more rounded midfielder.

"He has improved a lot tactically," he told a media conference ahead of Chelsea's visit to Cardiff City on Sunday. "Also, physically, I think.

"Fortunately, now he is doing very well with his leg and he has improved a lot during the season. He is a very, very good player. 

"I think that he has improved a lot in the defensive phase because technically he is a very good player.

"In the offensive phase, he can score seven or eight goals every season. Now I think he is also a good player in the defensive phase. He is not a defensive midfielder, of course, but he is good enough now."

Barkley made just four appearances for Everton and Chelsea in an injury-ravaged 2017-18 season and Sarri has revealed that he needed some time at the start of this campaign to restore his confidence.

"At the beginning of the season he didn't have a lot of confidence because last season was really very hard for him," he explained. "Then after four or five matches in the team, he changed. Now he is a very important player for us."

Ross Barkley says his decision to leave boyhood club Everton for Chelsea has helped him mature as a "person and a player".

Barkley arrived at Stamford Bridge in January 2018 but was restricted to only a handful of appearances in his first campaign due to a series of injuries.

He has been in fine form this season, though, making 39 appearances across all competitions for Maurizio Sarri's side.

He demonstrated his progress on Monday, scoring twice in England's 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Montenegro, and the 25-year-old attributes his new-found confidence to leaving his comfort zone in Merseyside.

"Yes, exactly," Barkley told reporters when asked if he needed the move.

"I am away from my family and down in London by myself. I am in a totally different environment from Liverpool. I miss being with my family, it is totally different. It is how I am maturing as a person and a player. It is good.

"Since I made the move it was good to challenge myself and win trophies and to improve as a player. I've changed compared to when I was 18, 19 or 20.

"My diet is much better. My approach to games is much better and I am going into them with the right preparation and I am more relaxed, rather than thinking about things too much."

Barkley says his performance against Montenegro was his best in an England shirt, but insists there is still room for improvement.

"It was my best performance for England," he added. "I came up with the two goals and had a hand in a couple of the goals, but I felt I could have played better.

"We can all improve. We are not in the game to accept where we are at. We have to improve at club level and at international level – there is a lot of room for improvement.

"I never thought I would not play for my country. We all go through difficult spells. But I am just believing in myself now and having confidence."

Two-goal Ross Barkley praised England's character after they came from behind to thrash Montenegro 5-1 in Podgorica on Monday.

Marko Vesovic's well-taken opener had put the hosts ahead early on, but Barkley set up Michael Keane for the equaliser before scoring twice to put the game beyond their opponents.

Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling added gloss to the scoreline late on and Barkley was impressed with how the Three Lions responded to the early setback to make it two wins from two in Euro 2020 qualifying Group A.

"Montenegro was always going to be a hard test but we showed character to come back and put in a positive performance," he told ITV. "It was a great night for myself."

Callum Hudson-Odoi, making his first start for Gareth Southgate's side, echoed Barkley's sentiments.

"Hopefully I did well, it is not about me, it is a team performance," he said.

"We had a great mentality from the start, going down was disappointing but we got back into it.

"I reacted slow to the ball and they scored from it. We have to react positively and keep going."

Ross Barkley was decisive with two goals and an assist as England thrashed Montenegro 5-1 in Podgorica on Monday to make it two wins from as many games in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Barkley – like full debutants Declan Rice and Callum Hudson-Odoi – was starting due to injuries, and he took full advantage of his opportunity, inspiring the rampant Three Lions by having a hand in three goals.

Marko Vesovic's well-taken opener had England on the back foot early on, but they went into the break ahead thanks to Michael Keane's first international goal and an instinctive finish from Barkley, who set up the equaliser.

England's play became sloppy at times early in the second period but Barkley effectively ended Montenegro's chances just before the hour, before Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling wrapped up the victory to add to Friday's 5-0 demolition of the Czech Republic at Wembley.

Although England controlled the early exchanges, Montenegro took the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute – Vesovic beating Jordan Pickford with a curling effort from 12 yards after playing the ball against Keane.

The England centre-back levelled at the half-hour mark, however, finding the bottom-right corner with a fine header from Barkley's free-kick.

Barkley was vital again as England took the lead eight minutes later, diverting Hudson-Odoi's slightly wayward shot in from close range.

Danijel Petkovic was helpless in the 59th minute as Sterling' cutback was knocked straight to Barkley by Stefan Savic, and the Chelsea man swept home from the centre of the area.

Kane got in on the act with 19 minutes to play, tapping a squared pass from Sterlin - who was released by Barkley - in from close range for his 17th goal in 20 England appearances under Gareth Southgate.

Manchester City star Sterling rounded things off in the 80th minute with a tidy finish following substitute Jordan Henderson's incisive pass.

 

What does it mean? England's character shines through

Although England's performance against the Czech Republic was impressive, they were not exactly required to show much mental fortitude. The same cannot be said about their trip to Podgorica, as they fell behind early on to a team more than prepared to scrap.

It was not vintage, but they showed a strength of character and ruthlessness rarely associated with England teams over the past two decades.

Hudson-Odoi proves his place is merited

While Barkley was the star of the show, Hudson-Odoi deserves praise. Many spoke of misgivings about his senior call-up given he is yet to even start a Premier League game for Chelsea, but – after a shaky start – the 18-year-old winger more than showed his class.

Savic all at sea

Montenegro's captain and most-recognisable player, Savic endured a less than impressive outing. He failed to cut out Sterling's pass for Barkley's second goal and then let Kane run through for his solitary strike.

What's next?

While Montenegro return to qualifying action in just under three months with games against Kosovo and the Czech Republic, England's next outing is their Nations League semi-final with Netherlands in June.

Ross Barkley insisted "good times are ahead" as he backed Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri amid growing pressure, highlighting Pep Guardiola's early struggles at Manchester City.

Sarri's Chelsea future has been brought into question ahead of Sunday's EFL Cup final against City following three defeats in six matches in all competitions.

Chelsea have dropped down to sixth in the Premier League, while their FA Cup defence was ended in the fifth round by Manchester United amid criticism over Sarri's style of play.

Barkley, however, leapt to the defence of Sarri – who has been linked with a return to Italy via Serie A outfit Roma.

"We're learning every day," said Barkley. "We are all top-class players and we all want to learn more. If you compare Pep Guardiola's first season [2016-17], they went through a bit of an up-and-down spell. When I was at Everton, we beat them 4-0.

"We have got ambition to be one of the best footballing sides in the world. We're one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"The style of play the manager wants is not where it is at now. Over time it will come. Bad days don't always stay. Good times are ahead.

"We are doing it every day in training. I am sure, with time, you will see how good it will be."

"Every manager has their own way of approaching games," added Barkley. "We did similar things at Everton under Roberto Martinez. It's just a way of being organised in a game. It's only going to help us. Personally, I don't mind it.

"He tries to improve every player. Throughout his career, you can see at Napoli how well he did with the players he had, how much he improved them. We went through a bit of an up-and-down spell in the last couple of weeks, but we're confident we'll come through it and achieve success."

Former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane and club favourite Frank Lampard – now in charge of Championship outfit Derby County – have already been linked with Chelsea.

"Over the years – me not being at the club – you see managers come, managers go," Barkley said. "It's all about success, winning trophies. That's why I came to the club. If things aren't going well there's always going to be pressure that comes with it."

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