Chelsea are having one of their worst seasons in recent memory, with Saturday’s Premier League loss to Brighton only adding to their woes.
But one shining light from the game was Mykhailo Mudryk’s performance, as the 22-year-old showed off his lightning pace and dribbling ability against Joel Veltman.
That, however, was a very small light at the end of a very long tunnel, as the visitors completely dominated Frank Lampard’s side.
The hosts took the lead thanks to a deflected strike from Conor Gallagher, but a header from Danny Welbeck and a sensational strike from youngster Julio Enciso put Brighton in front.
It was no less than Roberto De Zerbi’s side deserved, with the Seagulls having 26 shots compared to Chelsea’s eight and hitting the woodwork twice.
Lampard disappointed by performance
It is hardly the performance Lampard would have hoped for ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Real Madrid.
And speaking after the game, the boss said he did not like what he saw from his players.
“I’ve been at the club nine days. I don’t like what I saw today,” the former Chelsea midfielder said, via BBC Sport.
“I’m not going to try to dress that up in any way. There should be a feeling when you play for Chelsea where you’re proud.
“To get there, there needs to be a new energy. That needs to come back.”
He added that if Chelsea were to rediscover their best days, the players needed to start getting the basics right.
“Brighton are a very good team – they have been working together for a long time,” Lampard said. “The ideas, fitness, energy and the connection within the team is so good and that’s why they are where they are and we’re not that.
“To get to that will take time, but the first things on the ladder are the basics that we got wrong and were short on today. And that can’t be right for us.”
Mudryk blitzes past Veltman
But one reason for fans to be optimistic about the future came from new January signing Mudryk.
Following an impressive cameo against Liverpool on his debut, the Ukrainian has shown glimpses of quality, including yesterday when a run inside and a smart pass set up Gallagher’s goal.
That assist, along with one for Mateo Kovacic against Leicester City, means that he leads Chelsea’s assist chart this season.
But another instance which showed promise came when the attacker got the ball and ran towards Veltman on the halfway line.
The retreating 31-year-old centre-back is not the quickest, and Mudryk burned him for pace.
Knocking the ball around Veltman with his left foot, the winger then cuts to the other side and runs into the attacking third, before the Dutchman brings him down.
It might just be a moment within what was generally a poor game for the Blues, but Mudryk could terrorize defences and be a key player next season.
Watch: Mudryk’s blistering pace
What next for Chelsea?
Following a third defeat in as many games for Lampard’s side, the Blues host current European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
They will have to find a level they have not shown in recent weeks though, with the Spanish giants 2-0 up on aggregate.