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Potter's midfield duo dubbed the 'real deal' as form and confidence improves

  /  autty

Jamie Redknapp heaped praise on Chelsea's midfield partnership, with Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic both impressing over recent weeks

Despite a difficult start to the year, which saw just one win in 11 matches, Chelsea have begun to show signs of life under Graham Potter following three straight wins across two competitions. This improved spell of form coincided with a change in shape, as the Blues boss reverted to a back-three system and duly reaped the rewards.

Key to the uptick in results has been the performances of Chelsea's midfield. Since joining the club for £106million in January, Enzo Fernandez has been a constant figure in the middle of the park, regularly catching the eye for commanding and progressive displays.

During that same span of time, Mateo Kovacic has found minutes harder to come by, although through no fault of his own. A combination of calf problems and illness left him absent for games against Fulham, West Ham and Tottenham, but he did start in all three of his side's recent wins as he looks to build up some momentum.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp is excited about the partnership of Fernandez and Kovacic, and has already seen enough from the pair working in tandem to describe them as the "real deal".

"Good pair. As soon as he come you knew he’d be world class with what he produced in the World Cup," Redknapp commented ahead of Chelsea's clash with Everton.

"I think alongside Kovacic they look the real deal. He’s always progressive with his passing, he’s looking to put people in, he doesn’t ever play safe. He’s got a little bit of devilment in his play, and he covers a lot of ground."

Potter finally has fellow midfielder N'Golo Kante back available for selection after the 31-year-old sustained a lengthy injury before the former Brighton boss arrived back in September. Having played a key role in the Blues' midfield for many of the previous seasons, this will only enhance Chelsea's midfield roster even further and offers a whole new dynamic to the set-up.

Redknapp added: "I think they’ve got a really good base in that midfield right now, they’ve obviously got Kante back on the bench, which is another addition because they’re going to be having to keep that squad ticking over, bringing people in, but he’s one of those players you’d never wanna see not playing, he’s such a brilliant footballer."

On Sky Sports, Redknapp was discussing this topic with former Chelsea player Karen Carney. She agreed with her fellow pundit that Chelsea have a midfield to rival any elite European side.

"Kovacic likes to dribble with the ball and get forward and I think his confidence has improved, actually," said Carney. "Enzo, to be fair, what I like about Enzo is that he’s adaptable from Benfica, how he joined the Argentina team quite late, going into this Chelsea team - adaptable, and that’s what they needed.

"You need a good balance, he likes to sit and be a quarterback at times and Kovacic likes to drive and dribble and get forward."