Frank Lampard felt his Chelsea “babies” came of age as the Blues claimed a memorable 1-0 win at Ajax in the Champions League.
Substitute Michy Batshuayi struck with four minutes remaining to hand Chelsea their second win in Group H.
Lampard has shown his faith in young players this season and has now been rewarded with the biggest result of his Chelsea managerial career.
“I’m delighted with every element of the performance,” said the Blues boss.
“I think we’re allowed to be excited tonight. That’s the blueprint. There are no excuses for us now. That’s the standard and we can’t drop it.
“The young players are still babies in terms of Champions League minutes so this was a huge test for them.
“There was a good balance of young players and experience. We need to realise the things that made that happen tonight because Ajax are a top, top team.”
‘Subs made the difference’
It was a first loss in this season’s Champions League for Ajax, who reached the semi-finals of the competition last year.
They had a goal ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee when Quincy Promes was adjudged to have been offside, while Edson Alvarez hit the post with a header.
However, the game changed when Lampard sent on Christian Pulisic and Batshuayi midway through the second half.
USA winger Pulisic provided the assist for Batshuayi, who recovered from a bad miss earlier to score the winner.
“The subs were second to none,” added Lampard.
“Sometimes the hardest thing is leaving someone out. But it’s great for the spirit of the squad when subs come on and have an impact like that.
“Christian’s assist is as important as the finish, and the fact the sub scored makes me so happy.”
‘Chelsea attitude and application brilliant’
Former England and West Ham defender Matt Upson on BBC Radio 5 Live said: “It’s a brilliant result for Chelsea and you have to say, it’s thoroughly deserved, not just because of the attitude and application of the players but in the balance of play.
“They had a lot of opportunities, especially Callum Hudson-Odoi in the first half, and again in the second for Michy Batshuayi.”