JAMES Tarkowski has put himself in pole position to be Michael Keane's long-term replacement for Burnley, and his new partner in defence has backed him to make a success of that role.

With Keane having left Turf Moor for Everton in a potential £30million move this summer there is a gap to be filled alongside Ben Mee, with Tarkowski getting the nod at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The duo helped Burnley to a famous 3-2 win against the champions and Mee believes the omens are good for a fruitful partnership at the heart of defence.

"He did well," Mee said of Tarkowski.

"Hopefully we can build a really good partnership together and it bodes well. We defended really well first half and could have done better on the goals as a whole unit, but it’s a really positive start for us."

It was a thrilling start to the new Premier League season for the Clarets, with two goals for Sam Vokes and a stunning volley from Stephen Ward sending them into a 3-0 lead at half-time, with Gary Cahill having been sent-off inside the first quarter of an hour.

The Blues fought back after the break but also lost Cesc Fabregas in the final 10 minutes to end with nine men.

"It was brilliant, it was an eventful game, we got three goals in the first half and we knew they’d come out second half more organised and have a real go," Mee said.

"We were disappointed to concede the first goal which got their backs up but we’ll take 3-2 at Stamford Bridge.

"At 3-0 up at half-time against Stamford Bridge against the champions isn’t something you think is going to happen.

"We played well when they went down to 10 men and got the goals and we were in a really good position at half-time."

Mee revealed that Ward had been calling himself 'Stephen van Basten' after his strike.

He added: "It was a great finish and a good little move.

"We were disappointed with the goals but first half we defended really well, they didn’t get in behind us or create too many chances.

"The crowd was up and spurring them on but we did well and saw the game out."