Antonio Conte’s Chelsea secured their place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup after this victory over Everton.
Antonio Rudiger and Willian scored the goals that put a youthful-looking Chelsea through despite Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring late on for the visitors.
Chelsea’s uneven form had coincided with suggestions of disharmony behind the scenes.
However, despite a number of changes to the team that beat Watford over the weekend, Chelsea’s players put in a confident first-half display.
Conte was especially praiseworthy of his young players, with Charly Musonda and Ethan Ampadu standing out.
“The performance was very good in the first half where we created chances to score,” said the Italian. “In the second half, I think we suffered a bit, but it’s normal when you play against Everton.”
He added: “I saw a lot of positive things, especially the young players. Musonda, Kenedy and Ethan Ampadu played a good game. They deserve a chance and I am very happy because they gave me the answer I wanted.”
They took the lead on 26 minutes through German defender Rudiger after converting a cross from Musonda.
Wing back Davide Zappacosta nearly added a second before the interval but he lashed his shot into the side netting.
Everton had a chance to equalise on 55 minutes, but Wayne Rooney’s close-range shot was blocked by goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
Phil Jagielka had a goalscoring opportunity on 67 minutes, but again Caballero was equal to the task. Moments later, the Chelsea stopper kept out a shot from Kevin Mirallas.
On 81 minutes, a superb shot from substitute Ademola Lookman skimmed crossbar as Everton tried to haul themselves level.
However, a goal on 90 minutes from Willian, following a neat exchange of passes with substitute Cesc Fabregas sealed the win.
Calvert-Lewin scored moments later, but it wasn’t enough.
This was Everton’s first match since the sacking of Ronald Koeman earlier in the week. Caretaker manager David Unsworth, who re-affirmed this interest in taking the role full time, indicated that he would be meeting chairman Farhad Moshiri this week.
“All I know is that we’ll hopefully be as committed as that every game that I’m in charge,” said the former Everton defender. “We can’t be where we are and expect to win every game.
Chelsea visit Bournemouth this weekend as they look to build upon a positive set of results following a shaky period earlier in the month.