Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount has insisted that the Blues' young squad are proving their doubters wrong after being written off at the start of the season.
With Chelsea dealing with a transfer ban during the summer, many critics were adamant that they would struggle with a team full of academy graduates, yet Frank Lampard's side still find themselves fourth in the Premier League table.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup clash with Manchester United (via Goal), Mount accepted that the youngsters need to continue to impress if they are to retain their place in the starting lineup.
“The manager tells us that we're not going to be given a chance just because we're young, we have to earn it," Mount said.
"But the fans have been calling for young English players for a long time and the backing they've given us makes us all want to give that extra yard on the pitch.
"People wrote us off at the start of the season and said we wouldn't do well without new signings, so we just need to keep proving them wrong."
Alongside Mount, the likes of Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have all established themselves as fan favourites, and Lampard insisted that his plan was always to give the academy graduates a chance to prove themselves.
“I set out this season to see what these young boys could do," Lampard added. "If I didn't have a transfer ban and came to this club and had opportunities to bring players in during the summer, I still would have trusted the young boys.
“For me to have thrown that away after one game at Manchester United and a few opinions, that would have made me a bit of a flip-flopper.”
Fans have been incredibly supportive of both Lampard and the young squad, and they will be desperate to see Chelsea dish out some revenge, having fallen to a disappointing 4-0 loss to United in the first game of the season.