Chelsea starlet Kenedy's hopes of following his full debut for the Blues with a maiden Premier League start have been dealt a blow after manager Jose Mourinho confirmed the Brazilian youngster suffered a calf problem during the Capital One Cup third round win at Walsall. The 19 year old impressed on his first senior start, making the opening goal for compatriot Ramires before scoring himself in the second half.
Kenedy was replaced after 70 minutes at the Bescot Stadium by fellow summer addition Pedro, who went on to complete the scoring in a 4-1 win thatsets up a fourth round meeting with Stoke City – but the win came at a cost. Mourinho was otherwise impressed by the debutant, but hopes of him being considered for the trip to Newcastle United have suffered a blow.
"Kenedy played well," he said according to the official Chelsea website. "He was having pain in one calf, so I had to take him off, but a nice performance for him, good experience, more minutes on the pitch. It was good for all of them."
Meanwhile, another close season signing in the form of Radamel Falcao made his first Chelsea start since joining on loan from Monaco – after last term's difficult spell at Manchester United. The Colombia international failed to get on the scoresheet but Mourinho was delighted to see the player feature before being substituted in stoppage time.
"It was a good game for Falcao, a good 90 minutes – important for fitness," the Portuguese boss added. "He worked a lot, ran a lot, moved a lot. He was in the game a lot. For the first time this season he was on the pitch for a long, long time so it was a good game for him."
After Chelsea had strolled to a two-goal lead through Ramires and Loic Remy, James O'Connor's goal on the stroke of half time gave Walsall hope before the visitors pulled away with Kenedy and Pedro both on the scoresheet. Mourinho has heaped praise on the style of football adopted by their League One opposition, which he described as admirable.
"I am always worried against teams with great belief," he explained. "After 3-1 we could feel like it was game over but before that everything was open. They created chances and fought hard.
"I analysed them before. I watched a couple of their matches in League One. I was surprised with the quality of their play. They are a different team to normal in League One – not so physical, but technically fast. They were very well organised. I have years of cups in this country and I haven't found a team in League One playing the quality of football they tried to play."