Timo Werner will become a Chelsea star but it could still "take time" before the goal-starved striker lights up the Premier League, according to Frank Lampard.
Blues boss Lampard has seen Werner fail to score in any of his last nine league games, which means he is mired in his longest drought in top-flight football since 2016 when he went 11 successive matches without finding the net.
On Saturday, Chelsea make the short trip to Fulham, and a Werner goal in the west London derby would come as a major relief to the German forward, his coach and Chelsea fans who may be questioning the investment in the former RB Leipzig man.
Werner struck 28 goals in 34 Bundesliga games last season, finishing second only to Robert Lewandowski (34 goals) in the scoring stakes.
Lampard hopes the time he has spent with Werner on the training pitch over the previous fortnight will pay off, with Chelsea having not had a Premier League game since their January 3 clash with Manchester City.
"I think his performances have been pretty good and I think they're going to get better," Lampard said in a news conference.
"I think it's going slightly unspoken about the fact that a lot players that come into this league are given time to come in and out of the team and feel their way. There are players who have come into the Liverpool team over recent years and have been given time to feel how the team plays.
"Clearly with Timo we didn't have that opportunity because of some injuries in certain positions and because we bought Timo and others to make an impact in our first team straight away.
"People have to be patient with the idea that we'll maximise Timo's talent in this team. That's a two-way street of Timo's work and our work as a group, and it will happen, but of course it can take time."
Werner, 24, has spent a large part of his Chelsea career in a wide role, which may not be the optimum way of using his strengths even if it was a position he often played for Leipzig.
Lampard is considering ways to tease the best out of the £47million man, aware he can fill various roles, and a goal in the FA Cup drubbing of minnows Morecambe last week was welcome.
"With Timo through the middle, it’s clearly an area of the pitch that he likes to start from," said Lampard.
"At Leipzig and with Germany, he's played centrally, he's played on the left, he's played as a lone striker, he's played as one of two strikers, so I see there's definitely room for manoeuvre in how you use Timo."
Werner has scored four Premier League goals in 17 appearances, also hitting the woodwork a league-high five times in his 40 shots.
Of all players with 40 or more shots, only Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (three goals from 54 shots) has scored fewer times this season.
Chelsea will be tackling a Fulham side who have drawn their last five Premier League games, matching the number of draws they had played out in their previous 45 matches in the top flight.
The Cottagers have won just one of 28 previous Premier League clashes with Chelsea, however, when Chris Coleman's side won 1-0 at home against Jose Mourinho's men in March 2006 – with Lampard in the beaten team that day.
Chelsea lost last time out in the Premier League, going down 3-1 to Pep Guardiola's City, and it was all the way back in 1993 when they last suffered defeats in consecutive league games at the beginning of a year.
Those losses came against City, coincidentally, and Nottingham Forest.
Lampard believes Fulham boss Scott Parker is doing "fantastically well" and said they "played very well" in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Tottenham.
"They're very well organised and have threats throughout their team," said Lampard.