Jose Mourinho has urged doubters to hold judgement on his team until Christmas if they are to write off their title challenge.
Chelsea sit 12th in the Premier League table having won three league games all season but head to West Ham after back-to-back clean sheets.
Mourinho believes league standings are always significant but claims the halfway point of the season will be a truer representation of his side’s quality.
“In every moment you can take notice of the table,” Mourinho said.
“We used to say that half of the championship, end of December, you get a better picture. Everybody will have played 19 matches. Halfway is a good moment to look at the table, but every moment means something.
“At this moment they [fourth-placed West Ham] are where they are, not because someone gave them something but because they played for it.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho has taken a swipe at Marc Wilmots after the Belgium coach suggested he would welcome star player Eden Hazard making a move to Real Madrid.
The attacker’s work rate has been criticised by his club manager in recent weeks and he was left on the bench for Chelsea’s clash with Aston Villa.
Rumours of a move to La Liga have irked Mourinho, and the 52-year-old has criticised Wilmots’ interference.
“The national team is the national team and the coach is the coach,” Mourinho said.
“When he [Hazard] is in the national team I don’t open my mouth. Ever. I don’t comment about my players in the national team, if they play, if they don’t, if they play well. I don’t open my mouth.
“But some people don’t have the same ethics and they comment when the players are at the club. That’s not my problem.
“I don’t speak about Real Madrid. I have ethics. I don’t speak.”