Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson promised to work even harder after his hat-trick earned boss Mauricio Pochettino a statement victory at former club Tottenham.
Jackson’s second-half treble settled a pulsating London derby where five goals were disallowed and red cards were shown to Spurs pair Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie either side of half-time.
While Chelsea were far from vintage on their way to a 4-1 victory, Jackson eventually made the difference.
The Senegal attacker side-footed home his first goal in the 75th minute from Raheem Sterling’s cross before he grabbed a similar second after Conor Gallagher’s pass and completed his treble in the seventh minute of stoppage time when he rounded Guglielmo Vicario.
After receiving more yellow cards (five) than goals (three) during the first three months of the campaign, the £31million summer signing from Villarreal was pleased to start to pay back his price tag on Monday night.
Jackson: “Yeah, very happy. It was a difficult time for everybody in the team, but now we are coming back slowly, slowly and I am very happy to score three goals.
“It has been very difficult (for me) but life is like this. Now my first hat-trick and I am very happy I did it in the biggest club in England and everywhere.
“Always need to improve, always need to work harder. We continue working and now this (hat-trick) is the past, so we forget about it and move forward.
“We were dreaming about this, playing big games and winning big games. Now we continue to work hard and the confidence is coming slowly, slowly.”
Chelsea’s youthful side had struggled for consistency during the early months of Pochettino’s tenure, with battling draws against Liverpool and Arsenal married with home defeats to Nottingham Forest and Brentford.
Pochettino watched the Blues struggle to make their numerical advantage count against Tottenham until captain Reece James played through Sterling, who squared for Jackson to slide home with quarter of an hour left in N17.
Next up for the 10th-placed Blues is the visit of champions Manchester City on Sunday, which means a reunion for Cole Palmer against his old club.
Palmer, who took his Chelsea goal to three with the equaliser against Spurs, told Sky Sports: “This was a big game, we knew it was before we came into it. Big stadium and obviously they were unbeaten, but we thought we could come here and get a result and we did that.
“Obviously it is easier to play against nine men, but we knew we needed to win the game when they went down to 10 and then when they went down to nine especially.
“We knew we needed to score and if we kept pressing, making the runs in behind, because their line was so high, we would get in and we did eventually.
“It has obviously been a difficult start for Nico, no hiding from it, but he was brilliant.
“He just needs to work hard on the training pitch and keep his head down. Then I think he will get many more hat-tricks.”