Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger warns title rivals: Maurizio Sarri approach will improve

NEWCASTLE -- Antonio Rudiger said it is only a matter of time before Chelsea produce the performances to match their results after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Newcastle maintained their perfect start to the season.

An 87th-minute own goal from DeAndre Yedlin gave Chelsea victory after Joselu's header had cancelled out a controversial Eden Hazard penalty, ensuring that new head coach Maurizio Sarri has taken maximum points from his first three Premier League matches following wins over Huddersfield Town and Arsenal.

Sarri predicted that Chelsea would encounter "problems" in the first half of the season, particularly in defence, and Rudiger believes it is a good sign the Blues have managed to avoid dropping any points in the early weeks of the campaign despite being far from flawless.

"At the end of the day, the three points are more important because the performances will come definitely," Rudiger said. "If I [look at] this game and the game against Arsenal in the first half and the last 20 minutes, we're improving.

"Game-by-game I think it's getting better and that's our target. Before the internationals, we'll try to win all of our games and then come back after and go on."

Despite enjoying around 80 percent possession for most of the game, Chelsea were forced to wait until the 76th minute to break through Newcastle's massed and well organised five-man defence, with Hazard converting from the penalty spot after Yedlin was ruled to have brought down Marcos Alonso.

Joselu appeared to have snatched a point for Newcastle when he glanced in Yedlin's cross in the 83rd minute, but four minutes later the American diverted Alonso's shot into his own net to hand Sarri's men the win.

"That's a good sign," Rudiger said of Chelsea's late winner. "It meant we are ready -- it was a difficult game but in the end, with a bit of luck, we fully deserved this win. But if you saw the whole game, I wouldn't say that it's luck."

Chelsea's change of approach under Sarri has been immediately evident, with summer signing Jorginho averaging 112.7 passes per game from the base of midfield to set the tone for an expansive, possession-focused style of play in a fluid and dynamic 4-3-3 system.

Asked what is different to playing under Antonio Conte, Rudiger replied: "Stop comparing. I don't want to speak about the past. As you can see, we do a lot of ball possession and try to press high.

"For [the attacking players], it's good because we mostly have the ball. It's good for those players. To make those players defend is not their strength, especially Eden. But players like N'Golo [Kante] and Mateo [Kovacic] are a good mix. Those two players can attack and also defend as well."