The England international James helped the Blues come from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over their Champions League final opponents on Saturday.
Raheem Sterling put the hosts in front but Chelsea took full advantage of Sergio Aguero’s shocking penalty miss on the stroke of half-time to mount an impressive second-half comeback.
Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso were on target for the Blues, who are now third in the Premier League table with three matches remaining.
Shearer says James and Alonso were instrumental in helping Chelsea improve in the second half, reserving special praise for ‘magnificent’ James and saying Manchester City ‘couldn’t handle’ the 21-year-old.
The reason why Chelsea were better is that they got Alonso and James higher up the pitch, they were more involved,’ Shearer told BBC’s Match of the Day.
‘Reece James was magnificent in the second half, he gave [Benjamin] Mendy a horrid time. His pace and quality got Chelsea up the pitch
They couldn’t handle him. It was three or four occasions that he did that in the second half. He pulled everyone else up with him. ‘Chelsea were prepared to gamble and that was the big difference, it’s a big win for them.’
Blues goalscorer Alonso, meanwhile, was delighted Chelsea were able to tighten their grip on the top four with a victory over their Champions League final opponents.
‘We need to secure the top four position,’ he said. ‘Today was a big step, still three games to go.