Timo Werner will become a Chelsea star but it could still "take time" before the goal-starved striker lights up the Premier League, according to Frank Lampard.
Werner has failed to score in his last nine league games, which means he is mired in his longest drought in top-flight football since 2016 when he went 11 successive matches without finding the net.
On Saturday, Chelsea make trip to Fulham, and a Werner goal in the west London derby would come as a major relief to the Germany forward, who netted in a 4-0 FA Cup win over Morecambe on Sunday.
"I think his performances have been pretty good and I think they're going to get better," Lampard said in a news conference. "I think it's going slightly unspoken about the fact that a lot players that come into this league are given time to come in and out of the team and feel their way. "People have to be patient with the idea that we'll maximise Timo's talent in this team. That's a two-way street of Timo's work and our work as a group, and it will happen, but of course it can take time."
Fulham, meanwhile, head into the clash with Chelsea on the back of five successive league draws – the last of which came against Tottenham on Wednesday.
"To go unbeaten in this division, for a team like us, over a sustained period of time now against some very good opposition, shows how far we've come," Scott Parker said. "There isn't a magic wand, it's hard work on the training field, it's drilling the team, it's getting messages across to a group of players who are working tirelessly hard to improve and you're probably seeing the rewards of that."
Fulham – Tosin Adarabioyo
Fulham's switch to a back three seems to have helped solidify their defence, but the performances of Adarabioyo have also proved key. Against Spurs, the youngster made nine clearances and regained possession 10 times – more than any other Fulham player.
Chelsea – Kai Havertz
Another of Chelsea's Bundesliga imports who has struggled to hit his best form so far is Havertz, though the former Bayer Leverkusen prodigy did tee up Werner and then score a goal of his own in the 4-0 rout of Morecambe.
• Fulham have won just one of their 28 Premier League matches against Chelsea (D10 L17), winning 1-0 in March 2006 under Chris Coleman at Craven Cottage.
• In all competitions, Chelsea have lost just one of their last 19 away matches against Fulham (W12 D6) since losing four in a row between 1975 and 1977.
• Parker's first match as Fulham manager was a 1-2 defeat against Chelsea in the Premier League in March 2019. With Frank Lampard in charge of the Blues for this game, this is the first top-flight meeting between the clubs with both having an English manager since December 1967 – Vic Buckingham (Fulham) and Dave Sexton (Chelsea).
• Fulham have lost 12 of their last 14 home top-flight London derbies (W1 D1), losing the last seven in a row, a record run by a London team in the top-flight.
• Among the 373 fixtures to have been played at least 50 times in the English top-flight, the lowest win percentage by a team against an opponent is Fulham vs Chelsea (six per cent), with the Cottagers winning just three of their 50 games against the Blues.
Updated January 15, 2021