Four games into the new season and, with the Blues currently top of the table, Roberto Di Matteo has spoken of his delight at the manner in which our new players have adjusted to life in west London.
It’s been a solid start to our league campaign, with last weekend’s draw at Queens Park Rangers our first dropped points.
This afternoon’s visit of Stoke City provides us with a good opportunity to consolidate our position at the Barclays Premier League summit and, thus far, the manager has no cause for complaint.
‘We’ve been able to integrate our new signings into the team and been able to find a good balance between attacking and defending,’ he said.
‘We want to improve all the time, play good football, win some games and, at the same time, be solid at the back.
‘When a team creates chances it’s a healthy team, and we created very good chances against Queens Park Rangers – when we didn’t get a penalty – and we did the same against Juventus.
‘We’re trying to change the way we play, for sure, but it’s not like we are completely open. We need to remain focused and keep the attention high for an entire game.’
The link-up play between one of those new signings, Eden Hazard, and last season’s Player of the Year, Juan Mata, has been a cornerstone of our impressive early season form.
The manager, while acknowledging the blossoming relationship between the two attackers, believes there is yet more to come from the duo.
‘Hazard and Mata have found a very good understanding from the start,’ he says. ‘Some players just click naturally and are on the same wavelength.
‘They haven’t trained together for a long time because of the summers they had. That’s why in five or six weeks’ time, when they’ve had a bit more time together, they will be able to work even better on the pitch.’
Following a disappointing couple of days away from the field of play, in which racist chanting made an unwelcome return during the Europa League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Lazio, and John Mikel Obi received offensive abuse via twitter, Di Matteo stressed the importance of rooting out the offenders, before going on to praise the contribution of the Nigerian midfielder since he took charge.
‘We should do everything to eradicate this type of discrimination in every way we can from our society,’ said the Italian.
‘Fans have the right to express their opinion and feelings, but in the right way. Our supporters are brilliant, they always support the team, but we condemn any form of discrimination and racist abuse absolutely.
‘Mikel is fine, I had a little conversation with him but he’s handled it well. He’s done extremely well for us, it’s a bit of a dirty job in that position, breaking up the opposition’s play and it doesn’t always get recognised with the right credit.
‘We all make mistakes, all of the players have made mistakes in the past, we collectively go forward and we’re together all the time. He’s only 25 but he’s an established player.’
Roberto Di Matteo’s pre-match press conference can be viewed via Chelsea TV’s online access.