Jose Mourinho claims his Chelsea side are yet to hit top gear this season, despite seeing them beat Fulham 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Oscar – the returning manager’s preferred number 10 over Juan Mata – opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with an easy tap-in before John Obi Mikel sealed the result with his first ever league goal in 185 appearances for the west London club.
Mourinho praised his side’s recovery from last week’s disappointing results against Everton and FC Basel, and reminded critics that Chelsea are still first in the league despite their ‘bad start’ to the campaign.
The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ told Sky Sports: "Against Everton we went home very, very sad and today we go home very, very happy.
"The result was better than the result against Everton. I still think that we played much better against Everton than we did today but points are also important.
"After a bad start, a start that everybody kept telling me is the worst start for about a decade (for Chelsea), today I looked at the table, nobody is in front of us”.
The 50-year-old also singled out the Blues’ shock result at Goodison Park last week carries no long-term significance in such an unpredictable and competitive division.
"The beauty of the Premier League is that everybody loses matches and everybody drops points. The top six teams have already had a defeat, so no dramas”, he added.
"I am aware we are not playing very well but we will work, we are top professionals and everybody is working hard."
Chelsea – who started the season as title favourites – are far from the finished article under Mourinho, and he plans to ditch the results-driven long-ball tactics drummed into his inherited squad in exchange for a more intricate style of play.
Much to the confusion of the Chelsea faithful, the former Real Madrid boss has excluded fan favourite Juan Mata from his first-choice eleven. Mourinho recently revealed qualms over the Spaniard’s defensive work rate as the reason for his controversial absence.
The two-time winner of the club’s Player of the Year award will continue to warm the bench unless he adapts to the demands of Chelsea’s new style of play, as confirmed by his manager.
"Juan has to learn to play the way I want to play. He has to be more consistent, he has to be more participative when the team lose possession,” said Mourinho.
"I think it is not his fault, just the way he has played in recent years.”
The Spain international has played just 122 minutes of competitive football for the Blues so far this season, less than half the 382 minutes his rival playmaker Oscar has seen.
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