CHELSEA host Newcastle at the Bridge on Sunday, before hopping on a flight to France for the second leg of the Champions League duel with Lille.

There’s a fresh optimism in SW6 as the dust settles after Roman Abramovich’s sudden decision to sell up, with former keeper Petr Cech holding meetings at the Cobham training ground to offer players reassurances about the future.

It all comes as Reece James returns to full match fitness, demonstrating his value to the team with a pivotal performance at Turf Moor where, with four second-half goals, the Blues turned on the style and swept Burnley aside.

James opened the scoring with a spellbinding bit of footwork before Kai Havertz netted twice and Christian Pulisic (steadily regaining form) finished off the Clarets.

“Reece’s goal was brilliant,” said Havertz of his teammate’s strike, as the right-back started a match for the first time in 10 weeks because of injury.

Gaffer Tom Tuchel said after the game that the Burnley pitch had been very dry, and that it had slowed the game down. “The ball was somehow always stuck between our legs,” he said.

It opens an interesting debate about pitch watering. At Stamford Bridge (and Kingsmeadow, where Chelsea Women play), the sprinklers soak the surface in the half hour before every kick-off, giving the ball added zip.

Middlesbrough, who play the Blues in the FA Cup quarter-final on March 19, have clocked Tuchel’s words, and will now be aiming to turn the Riverside stadium into a north-eastern desert!