Antonio Conte has told Michy Batshuayi he must show he is better than Alvaro Morata or Eden Hazard if he is to hold down a first-team role at Chelsea.
Batshuayi joined Chelsea from Marseille for a reported EUR39million in July 2016 after establishing himself as a rising star in Ligue 1 and at Standard Liege before that.
But he has struggled to make a telling impact at Stamford Bridge, making just three Premier League starts so far.
Some thought the Belgian would get more chances from the start as a result of Morata's recent fitness problems, but Conte has instead been using Hazard in a 'false nine' role.
And Batshuayi's chances of featuring regularly have hardly been improved by Conte's latest comments.
"He has to show me that he's better than Morata, or than Hazard," Conte said. "It's very simple.
"But don't forget that Michy, this season, is playing more than last season. Last season he didn't play.
"He didn't play and I think this season, if you consider his [ankle] injury for a month, he had his chance.
"Michy is coming from an injury. Don't forget this. Michy stopped for maybe two weeks, 18 days, and then he needed to work. To work and to find the best physical condition."
The 24-year-old does look set to start against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, however.
Conte says he will give an opportunity tomorrow to Michy Batshuayi.-- Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 19, 2017
"Now I think it's right for him to start the game against Bournemouth. But I repeat, in every game, I have to make the best decision for the team.
"Against Huddersfield we won 3-1 and I think I made the best decision to start with Hazard, Pedro and Willian.
"It was the same against Southampton. Every game I've played Hazard, Pedro and Willian together, they've won. Last season and this season."