Tiemoue Bakayoko was savaged by pundits and Chelsea fans alike for his performance against West Ham last week. The midfielder struggled to do anything with the ball and was at fault for the goal that the Hammers scored early on.
Such was the scorn poured over his performance it seemed almost certain that he would be dropped for our next match. Yet he started in midweek, somewhat surprisingly, against Huddersfield. He put in a much improved performance, and then started again today. Again, he played well.
Instead of dropping the Frenchman, Conte has kept him in the side and allowed him to play his way back into form. Bakayoko has kept his game very simple, and has used the confidence generated by the backing of his manager to regain the trust of the fans and his teammates.
He deserves credit for rising above the criticism, but Antonio Conte also deserves part of the credit for following his words with actions. He said he trusted his summer signing, and now he’s proved it.