Soccer-Mudryk and Broja end Chelsea goal drought in 2-0 win at Fulham

Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Chelsea - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - October 2, 2023 Fulham's Willian in action with Chelsea's Moises Caicedo REUTERS/Tony Obrien

LONDON (Reuters) -Chelsea finally found the net as they won 2-0 at neighbours Fulham in the Premier League on Monday with Mykhailo Mudryk scoring his first goal for the Blues and Armando Broja also on target as he celebrated his full return from injury.

Mauricio Pochettino's hugely expensive, new-look side had failed to score in each of their previous three league games and had notched up only five goals in six top-flight matches this season before their visit to Craven Cottage.

However, in the space of two first-half minutes they seized control of the West London derby.

In the 18th, Ukraine winger Mudryk chested down a cross from Levi Colwill and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Bernd Leno before poor defending by the hosts allowed Broja to double the lead a minute later.

It was Mudryk's first goal since signing for Chelsea nine months ago while Broja - replacing the suspended Nicolas Jackson - was making his first start since sustaining a knee injury at the end of 2022.

"It's an unbelievable feeling. It's been a long time coming," Broja told talkSPORT about his goal.

"We are gelling as a team. It's not going to happen overnight ... It's important for us to have that time and to keep progressing as a team."

Ian Maatsen - who came off the bench at halftime after Mudryk picked up an injury - almost made it three for Chelsea when he hit the post in the 62nd minute, with the visitors cruising to only their second league win of the season.

The result pushed Chelsea up to 11th spot with eight points, leapfrogging Fulham, who are 13th, on goal difference.

"The performance was fantastic - too many good things, very positive things. We need to keep working, keep believing," said a relieved Pochettino.

"The belief was there ... and the team today in the end got what we wanted. Now it's about being ruthless and working really hard and finding better solutions."

Pochettino played down worries that Broja, Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez might have picked up fresh injuries - with several other key players already sidelined - but he said Mudryk had felt a problem in his thigh at the end of the first half.

Fulham coach Marco Silva lamented what he said were soft goals his side had offered up to the visitors.

"It created a really difficult scenario for us and the perfect one for Chelsea," he noted.

The Portuguese dismissed suggestions his team were missing the firepower of Serbia forward Aleksandar Mitrovic, who joined Saudi club Al-Hilal in August, saying he was only focused on his current crop of players.

"Of course we have to keep working," Silva added. "We have to be more effective. We have to decide better."

(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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