Thiago Silva looked assured in his first appearance but Barnsley were still allowed far too many early chances
Show the Brazilian map of England – heck, Yorkshire – stripped of labels and ask him to stick a pin in Barnsley. The only way he is getting it right is through complete fortune.
Yet here the 36-year-old was, a serial winner whose last game exactly one month ago was the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, preparing for a Carabao Cup third-round tie against one of the Championship’s smallest clubs.
It is unlikely that this is what the 89-time Brazil international envisaged for his debut when he agreed to swap Paris for West London as a free agent but in many ways it was a typical introduction to frantically-paced English football.
Barnsley may have been big underdogs and the final scoreline proved the gulf between the sides, but that did not stop them from having a go early on.
The visitors, in a Brazil-shade of yellow, were game from the off – pressing ferociously and committing numbers forward before tiring.
Their Austrian centre forward Patrick Schmidt may not be in the same league as Robert Lewandowski but he never stopped working, aided by Dominik Frieser on a fittingly chilly evening in West London.
Frank Lampard will have been pleased by a lot of the performance but that Barnsley were allowed so many opportunities, Willy Caballero coming to the rescue more than once at 0-0 and 1-0, was concerning
Thiago Silva cannot solve that alone or immediately and, like he said when unveiled to the media yesterday, it is about taking collective responsibility
What stood out most from his performance on an evening that ended up very comfortable despite that sticky opening was the leadership.
He may not be the most fluent of English speakers but inside the first five minutes his vocal presence came across loud and clear
That is the type of personality Chelsea’s defence sorely lacked last season: someone to bark and holler, even if in the most rudimentary language.
“Easy” and “man on” are a sight better than silence.
There may be question marks around his age and speed but this is a dressing room that had been in need of such a big character.
There was an awkward slip that set Patrick Schmidt free on the counter in the 13th minute but for the most part he was calm and assured on the ball.
His passing range was also noteworthy – finding Callum Hudson-Odoi with a delightful lofted diagonal about a minute before Kai Havertz, who ended up with a hat-trick, scored his first goal for the club – in tricky enough conditions as a heavy shower emptied on SW6.
Those concerned by a lack of pace will also have noted the ease with which he ran ahead of Cauley Woodrow to dispossess the Barnsley No9 nearing half-time.
Again, the likes of Jamie Vardy will offer a far sterner test but as first bows go, there was much to admire from his opening hour as a Chelsea player.