Guus Hiddink gives his verdict on Matt Miazga's Chelsea debut

Guus Hiddink

The 20-year-old American centre-back produced a solid display in Saturday's 4-0 victory at Aston Villa.

Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has described Matt Miazga’s debut as “a good first step” but told ESPN FC that the emerging centre-back still needs time to grow more accustomed to the demands of the Premier League.

Miazga started Saturday’s match at Aston Villa with both Gary Cahill and John Terry out injured and put in calm and composed performance to help Hiddink’s side cruise to comfortable 4-0 win.

It was the 20-year-old American’s first appearance for the club since his January move from the New York Red Bulls, and despite having just one full season as a starter in MLS under his belt, he did not look at all out of place.

Partnering Branislav Ivanovic in the heart of the defence, the one-time capped international recorded five clearances, three tackles and won a team-leading five aerial duels to help preserve the clean sheet.

Hiddink was certainly impressed with the 6ft 3in stopper’s mature display, but he was also keen to stress that he still has significant elements of his game to work on after arriving from a league that is “a bit naïve” compared to the English top-flight.

"To be honest this wasn't the toughest game," Hiddink told ESPN FC. "You have to consider also when a real good war is going on how you cope with that, but it's a good first step up for him.

"He's coming from a league that is a bit naive compared to the Premier League, and he has to get used to a little more freedom given to the attackers by the referees, which I like.

“He has to cope with a little bit of a shuffle, of a push that in other leagues the referee would give free kicks for. That's the naivety he has to leave as soon as possible but I didn't see much of that [against Aston Villa]."

Miazga himself was satisfied with his first Premier League outing as goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alexandre Pato and a second-half double from Pedro Rodriguez saw Chelsea extend their unbeaten league run to 15 straight games.

Villa truthfully did not provide much of a test of his abilities on the day, but the £3.5 million signing’s performance was still more than commendable given his lack of top level experience.

"The pace is definitely much faster [than MLS], but as soon as we scored the first goal we took control of the game," Miazga told ESPN FC. "It was kind of cruise control and all I had to do was spray the ball into the midfielders. My job was just to stay focused on defence.

"This is the highest level. Leading up to professional games you're always a bit nervous and anxious, but once you get onto the pitch it's business."

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