Petr Cech leapt to the defence of Fernando Torres and lavished praise on David Luiz after his new Chelsea team-mates' contrasting nights in the West London derby.
Goalkeeper Cech looked on as Torres endured another game to forget in his second appearance for the Blues since his record-breaking £50million move from Liverpool. And the Czech Republic star had the ideal vantage point from which to witness an outstanding full debut from £25million man Luiz, who also joined the Premier League champions on transfer deadline day.
For Torres, almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong, with the Spain star's touch heavy and his finishing feeble as he wasted four chances in quick succession to open his Chelsea account before being hauled off 19 minutes from time to chants of "What a waste of money!" from the Fulham fans.
But Cech told his club's official website: "I think he made very good movements throughout the 60 or 70 minutes he was on the pitch and he found quite quickly the understanding with everybody. It wasn't to be, to score a goal but it looks very promising."
Unlike Torres, Luiz seemingly could do no wrong last night - until he conceded a soft stoppage-time penalty which Cech ultimately saved. Cech described the 23-year-old defender as "brilliant", adding: "It just shows why Chelsea bought him because he really is a great addition to the squad."
Luiz's inexperience did tell during the penalty incident, however, the Brazil star giving Mike Dean a decision to make with a clumsy challenge on Clint Dempsey. Cech came to the rescue by correctly diving to his right and beating out Dempsey's shot, and he revealed afterwards he had anticipated which way the American would shoot.
"The way he went to the ball, I sensed he could choose the easy option, which is to go harder and across, so that's why I chose to go there," said Cech, who had no complaints over the penalty award.
Last night's result left Chelsea marooned outside the top four, two points behind Tottenham and 12 adrift of leaders Manchester United with just 12 games remaining, all but signalling the end of their Premier League defence.
But Cech insisted the champions would not concede defeat in the title race until it was impossible to close the gap. "Obviously, we are quite far now because they won their games and we dropped points but there is still a way to go and we will fight to the end," he said.
Historic miss for Fulham
Cech's save cost Fulham the chance to record the rarest of derby wins over Chelsea, with the Cottagers having beaten their west London rivals just once in their previous 28 meetings. It also prevented them recording a sixth straight home win in all competitions and climbing into the Premier League top 10.
Striker Andy Johnson insisted there were no ill feelings towards top scorer Dempsey, Fulham's saviour so often this term. "The person who took the penalty for us has been fantastic for us this season, so it's just unlucky for him," Johnson told his club's official website. "Clint has 10 goals for us already this season and it was him that won the penalty so it made sense that he was the one to take it.
"He's scored them before now and he's been top class for us this season, so he's big enough to pick himself up from this. Sure, we're disappointed, but they [Chelsea] are a top team and they've spent a lot of money. So, if you'd asked us before the game, we would have been happy with a point. It's a great run that we're on at the moment and it was great to keep the unbeaten record going."