Ross Barkley has impressed for Chelsea since pre-season, and the January signing has also impressed in his two starts for Chelsea this season.

However, Maurizio Sarri opted to start summer signing Mateo Kovacic ahead of Barkley in the 2-1 win away at Newcastle.

Speaking after the game, Sarri revealed the time was right to give Kovacic his first start of the season.

“I think that the situation of Mateo is similar to the situation of Eden,” Sarri told Sky Sports before the game when asked about replacing Barkley with Kovacic.

“So I think now it’s right to give him minutes on the pitch, minutes in the match. I think that Mateo will be a very important player for us during the season.”