BY PAUL LAGAN
Crisis, what crisis?
Those doomsayers who suggested that the Blues were looking down towards the relegation spots rather than the upwardly mobile trendy perspective of a top-five finish, are looking pretty silly now, aren’t they?
Why? Well, because Chelsea have won two games in a row.
A win tomorrow against Burnley in the Premier League and it will be a hat-trick of victories. When was the last time the Chelsea fans could sing about any kind of hat-trick?
Chelsea beat out-of-sorts Fulham 2-0 on Monday and that was a follow up to their midweek EFL Cup win at home against Brighton. It’s vital they take all three points against the newly-promoted Clarets if they are to go into the international break with any sustained sense of confidence.
The Blues are already 10 points behind league leaders Manchester City and seven adrift of fifth-placed Aston Villa.
Burnley have won just once in the league this season, a confidence-building 2-1 win at Luton on Tuesday, while the Blues have only won twice – they other a 3-0 mauling of Luton.
Head coach Mauricio Pochettino is faced with the same issues as before, 12 players unavailable .
He looks set to restore Nicolas Jackson to the central striking role following his suspension at the expense of Armando Broja, who scored against Fulham. The Albanian is back after a 10-month lay-off due to an ACL injury and is not ready for a full 90 minutes.
Raheem Sterling is expected to resume his wing role having been benched against the Whites, while Mykhailo Mudryk will patrol the left flank.
Ukraine winger Mudryk has generally misfired but notched the other goal at the Cottage.
Pochettino said: “It’s about maturity and adaptation.
“We need to understand young people need time to settle. It was a massive change for him when he arrived here.
“When you arrive in a team it’s not easy to settle because, to be honest, too many young players arrive to a team that is not solid.
“It’s not the cherry [on top] of the cake. They need to add something to the team to add something important. It is difficult but it is about time, and to be patient. It is to trust these guys – these young talented players.
“It’s a massive job, a step-by-step but very short step. Sometimes people don’t have the patience but for us it is patience.
“Even when we were losing, and not winning at the beginning of the season, we were calm, and believed and were confident.
“Now we have won two games in the last few days, it is important to be calm, to keep improving, to trust and to build belief and confidence.
“In football you need to be ready for everything. Now we are focusing on preparing for the next game which will be tough also.
“It is important for the players to be relieved after two victories. I’m so happy for the players.
“We need to recover the players and have a competitive squad for Saturday.”
There is little such tension at the back end of the Chelsea training complex at Cobham where the women prepare for their games.
They opened their Super League defence against Tottenham and beat them 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The 14,776 crowd was a major disappointment considering earlier in the day Arsenal had 54,000 through the turnstiles for their defeat to Liverpool.
Emma Hayes’s outfit are at title rivals Manchester City on Sunday (12.30pm kick-off).
Striker Sam Kerr will be available to play.
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