Thomas Tuchel insists Marcos Alonso fully deserves his recent run in the Chelsea team.
Alonso was tipped to leave Stamford Bridge during the summer transfer window but not only stayed – he has been keeping Ben Chilwell out.
Chilwell was given an extended break after being with the England squad that reached the European Championship final.
In his absence, Alonso impressed during pre-season training and has started the new campaign well.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Blues boss Tuchel said: “Marcos was crucial for us from the first day in training and then he delivered in Chilly’s position.
“These are two specialists in the same position so this is a tough competition for both of them.
“We had some talks with Chilly about the situation. He knows I would have done the same thing if it would have been the other way around – to trust him if he was here and showed this kind of personality and attitude like Marcos did.
“They push each other and there are no further worries for Chilly – he has to be patient and keep on training.”
Chilwell was a key player last season, helping Chelsea win the Champions League, but his appearance in the final was his last outing for club or country.
He did not feature at all during England’s Euro 2020 campaign, with Manchester United’s Luke Shaw getting the nod from Gareth Southgate.
“That (not playing in the Euros) has absolutely been difficult for him,” Tuchel explained.
“He came from a Champions League win, a strong performance and had a good end of the season and played in crucial games at a high level.
“Then it was a tough Euros personally for him. There were chances where I think he thought he could have played. He did not – and I know it was a tough one.
“He had a break and then it was hard for him to get this personal disappointment off his shoulders and when he arrived back here I felt he was a bit mentally tired and still worrying about the situation.
“He was also unlucky during the start of the season because Marcos was here the whole pre-season and took this opportunity so great.”