Chelsea face the next challenge of their testing start to the Premier League season when they welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
A run of three straight victories for Jose Mourinho’s men came to an abrupt end with a 2-2 draw at struggling Newcastle United and a 2-1 defeat to Porto in the Champions League over the last week.
As a result, the pressure is back on Chelsea as they face a Saints side who are on a high after winning their last two games, scoring nine goals in the process.
Mourinho, who has led his side to just eight points from seven games, has never lost to Southampton in the Premier League, although both of last season’s games were 1-1 draws.
Midfielder Willian, who netted Chelsea’s goal at Porto on Tuesday with a superb free-kick, says he and his team-mates have little time to dwell on their latest defeat with Saturday’s clash with Southampton looming.
“I am happy with the goal but I am not happy with the result, because we want to win,” he told the club’s official website.
“We tried a lot to win, so we are disappointed. We have more games coming and we have to stay focused. I think we have to continue to fight, to train, to stay concentrated because we have more games coming.”
Despite the champions’ struggles this season, Southampton defender Cedric Soares is in no doubt as to the Portuguese manager’s ability and is relishing the chance to play against one of England’s biggest sides.
“Everybody knows that the qualities he [Mourinho] has, he is an amazing coach,” the 24-year-old told the Southern Daily Echo.
“It will be a pleasure for me to play against him and for sure it will be a great game. It is a big game and every player wants to play those big games. It is about football.
“Big stadiums, big environment – you want to play that high level and Chelsea is one of the best teams, so everybody wants to play. We will do our best to win.”
Ronald Koeman’s men are on a poor run of away form, though, with no league win on the road in 10 matches – a run only equalled by Newcastle.
The Dutchman will hope Graziano Pelle can continue to find the net after the striker netted four goals from seven games to kick off the season. Meanwhile, Chelsea do not have a single player who has scored more than one goal in the league.
Diego Costa is suspended and Thibaut Courtois (knee) is still along-term absentee, while Southampton have been coping without Steven Caulker, Jordy Clasie, Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos.