Rafael Benitez has called on his team to show the levels of consistency which he believes will help us close the gap on the teams above us – starting with today’s game against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
The Chelsea manager saw his team equal our biggest ever Premier League win on Sunday with an 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, our second successive victory in the league, and he is hopeful his side can maintain our current momentum approaching a crucial period which sees us play three games in less than a week.
‘We will see how close we can be,’ explained the Spaniard. ‘The main thing for us now is to be consistent – like we were on Sunday – and win games. It’s very simple, but also difficult.
‘As long as you carry on winning games, we saw at the weekend that Manchester United only drew, but the problem is if it happens to you, so we have to maintain this level.
‘We approach every game in a serious manner, but against any Premier League team it will be difficult, that’s for sure.’
When Benitez was placed in charge of the Blues last month, initial thoughts were that he had been brought in to shore up a team which had been conceding goals at an alarming rate.
It’s at the other end of the pitch, however, where the majority of his work has been done, with the Blues scoring 21 goals over the course of our last four matches in England, as Nordsjaelland, Sunderland, Leeds United and Villa have all been ruthlessly taken apart.
‘I always try to find the right balance which, for me, is to be strong in defence – like we were against Aston Villa where we kept a clean sheet – but also attacking,’ he said.
‘I have always been thinking about attacking. When I was at Liverpool we broke the Champions League record with an 8-0 win against Besiktas.
‘I like to work with the shape of the team and the transitions of the team, but some people, when they analyse it, can’t see that as an offensive mentality.’
With the opening of the January transfer window rapidly approaching, there is every chance that Benitez could be a busy man over the next few weeks.
Injuries, suspensions and the Africa Cup of Nations mean that there are one or two areas within the squad which may need bolstering if we are to sustain a charge on all fronts in the second half of the campaign.
As the Blues boss explained, though, enhancing a strong squad of players is not quite as easy as it may appear.
‘We are trying to work together, the club and myself, so we have some ideas and we will see,’ said Benitez. ‘It’s about doing what’s best for the team.
‘We are working hard and trying to find the right players. It’s not easy because this is a top side, we have good players and it’s difficult to find better players than the ones we have at the moment.’