Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez believes that the trip to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup has aided their recent run of good form.
The west London club lost the final of the competition against Corinthians 1-0 but have won all four of their matches since returning from Japan, including Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
And the Spaniard believes the trip offered him more time to get his methods across to his players.
“The trip to Japan was important for us because we were together for a long time,” he told reporters.
“We had at least two or three training sessions where we could work on new things and you can see it working out. We are still making some mistakes that we have to manage, but the team is much better.
“What impresses me is the attitude of the players. They are keen to learn and train. I had a discussion with the staff today and we are really pleased with the way they work and train and behave each day – and that is important for the future.”
Chelsea were forced to come from behind to beat the Toffees following Steven Pienaar’s first-minute goal but the 52-year-old insists he never doubted his side’s chances.
“This was a great win for us,” he said.
“I didn’t fear the worst when they took the lead. We knew Everton would be tough but I had confidence in my players.
“The team showed the commitment, passion and quality against a good team. We made mistakes at the beginning but the reaction was really good. We put Ramires on the right side against Leighton Baines and he gave us a great game, too.”
The former Liverpool boss refused, however, to be drawn on his side’s chances of mounting a late challenge for the Premier League title.
“We are not watching the table too much. We have a game in hand but we still have to win it,” he said.
“Our idea is to approach the competition thinking about one game at a time. We will see where we are after some more games.”