London, October 30: Frank Lampard says he always planned to bring through Chelsea's exciting young players regardless of the club's transfer ban.
Talented academy products Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have made the leap into the first-team this term following several spells out on loan.
An excellent run of results, including an ongoing seven-match winning streak, and a swashbuckling playing style have shown a heavy opening-weekend defeat to Manchester United to be a minor hiccup.
Fears about how Chelsea would cope without new signings have been dispelled, though head coach Lampard insists the handicap had little impact on his plans.
"I set out this season to see what these young boys could do," the Blues boss said ahead of Wednesday's EFL Cup clash with United.
"If I didn't have a transfer ban and came to this club and had opportunities to bring players in during the summer, I still would have trusted the young boys.
"For me to have thrown that away after one game at Manchester United and a few opinions, that would have made me a bit of a flip-flopper."
Mount, 20, has led the arrival of the next generation, scoring four Premier League goals in 10 games and breaking into England's starting line-up.
The midfielder learned from Lampard during a spell at Derby County last season and accepts a starting spot is not guaranteed despite the new direction.
"The manager tells us that we're not going to be given a chance just because we're young. We have to earn it," Mount said.
"But the fans have been calling for young English players for a long time and the backing they've given us makes us all want to give that extra yard on the pitch.
"People wrote us off at the start of the season and said we wouldn't do well without new signings, so we just need to keep proving them wrong."