Chelsea's Tiemoue Bakayoko will shine next season after tough start - Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has backed midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko to show his quality next season after a difficult year of adaptation to the Premier League.

Bakayoko has struggled with fitness and confidence since moving to Stamford Bridge from Monaco for £40 million last summer, and was jeered by his own supporters in February after a nightmare performance at Watford that saw him sent off after 30 minutes.

But after a lengthy spell out of the team the France international has improved significantly in recent weeks and was one of Chelsea's most impressive performers in Sunday's 1-0 win over Liverpool.

Speaking after that game, Courtois said Bakayoko was always likely to take time to produce his best in England.

"It is not easy to settle into a new club, especially one like Chelsea," he told the London Evening Standard.

"If results go your way it's fantastic, everybody will say it's a great signing. Yet when things go wrong and you're a big signing, you will get criticism.

"People forget that he is still a young guy. Maybe his form dropped a bit, but you can see in the last few games he's been very good again. He was very strong against Liverpool in midfield and we can be happy about that.

"His partnership with N'Golo Kante can be a formidable one in midfield next season. Physically they are very strong. It will be really hard for teams to win that midfield battle against us."

Bakayoko's attempts to adapt quickly were scuppered by a lingering knee injury that delayed his transfer and curtailed his involvement in preseason.

"That's very significant, especially as the manager needed him straight away," Courtois said. "He didn't have that physical preparation or take part in the tactical training sessions that Antonio [Conte] likes. I think that's why it has not been easy for him.

"When a new signing arrives into the team we always try to help them settle in as quickly as possible. But it's also about understanding the system the manager wants to play.

"A midfielder has to do specific things that Antonio wants, things that he's maybe not used to. But if you understand that all this is the case and see what Tiemoue has done, you can see he is a very good player."