Frank Lampard backed Callum Hudson-Odoi after Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat at home to Southampton.
The England international, who suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon last season, struggled on a bad day for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Recalled to the starting line-up by boss Lampard, Hudson-Odoi gave the ball away in the build up to the opening goal and was generally poor before being taken off midway through the second half.
But Lampard praised the youngster for his work ethic and pledged to be patient with him.
Lampard said: “I thought he put a lot of effort in. He was trying things, making runs and it wasn’t quite coming off for him in the first half.
“He’s come off the back of a big injury and there’s certainly a period where we have to stick with him through that.
“He’s very young. There was a lot of talk last year about a contract and would he or wouldn’t he (sign it) and now he has.
“He’s in a period now where he needs to get his head down and work – and he knows that – to show what he can be for this club. It’s down to him now.
“I showed the faith in him by playing him today and I’ll continue to do that. We have to go with him a little bit.
“I saw an effort and a desire that I’ve seen in training these last couple of weeks.”
The defeat continued Chelsea’s poor home form – it was their third loss in their past four league games at the Bridge, where they were recently beaten by West Ham and Bournemouth.
“It was the same story as a few of the last home games,” Lampard admitted.
“You can’t have nearly 70% possession and control and not do more – not hit better crosses, not hit better final passes and have clear chances at goal.”