Con­fi­dence high as Chels ea aim t o s tay un­beat en

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

LONDON — J osé M our­inho’s Chelsea will aim t o ex­tend their un­beat en start to the P remier League sea­son and in­con­ve­nience one of their ear ly ri vals when As­ton Villa visit Stam­ford Bridge to­day.

Last week­end’s 1­1 draw at Manch­ester City ended Chelsea’s per­fect start to their league cam­paign, but they re­main at the head of the t able, thr ee points clear of Southamp­ton and Villa.

Few peo­ple e xpected Villa t o figur e so promi­nently to­wards the top of the di­vi­sion, but hav­ing edged Cham­pi­onship side Bolton Wan­der­ers 2­1 in the League C up on W ed­nes­day, Chelsea ar e in the gr oove.

And with a num­ber of se­nior play­ ers, in­clud­ing in­f orm s triker Die go Costa, set to re­turn to the line­up after be­ing rested, con­fi­dence is run­ning high among Mour­inho’s pla yers.

“It’s great to have a win­ning men­tal­ity,” said c en­tre­back Gary Cahill.

“If you have a cou­ple of sticky re­sults, it put s the pr es­sure on g oing int o games, but at the mo­ment w e’re un­beaten, we’re go­ing well, and we should have c on­fi­dence, e spe­cially pla ying in front of our o wn f ans at St am­ford Bridge.”

Mour­inho used the op­por­tu­nit y of Bolton’s visit t o gi ve a num­ber of his fringe pla yers some much­needed match ac­tion.

Filipe Luis made onl y his thir d ap­pear­ance sinc e his £1 6 mil­lion (R292 mil­lion) move from Atletico Madrid.

The left­back has yet to start a league game as Mour­inho con­tin­ues to favour the right­f ooted C esar Azpilicuet a in the role, but Luis sa ys he has no c omplaints about hav­ing to wait for op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It’s bril­liant t o be at this club . It’s a gr eat f eel­ing,” he said.

“When y ou w ork with M our­inho, you have to know that the gr oup, the col­lec­tive, is abo ve the indi vid­ual.

“We won the first four league games and dr ew the fifth. I ha ve noth­ing t o com­plain about.”

Ramires is doubt­ful to face Villa after the Brazil­ian mid­fielder suf­fered an ad­duc­tor pr oblem ag ainst City.

Villa r emain with­out s tar s triker Christian Ben­teke, but he has re­turned to train­ing fol­low­ing an Achilles in­jury and will be c on­sid­ered f or next week­ end’s g ame ag ainst City.

The Bel­gian has missed the last five months, in­clud­ing the W orld C up.

“He’s get­ting closer. Next week we will see ho w he is f or the M an C ity game,” said manag er Paul Lam­bert.

“Christian’s all right. He’s had a good week of train­ing un­der his belt. H e’s a nat­u­ral ath­lete, but you don’t want him to break down. Ev­ery­one is happy to see him back. It’s been a long road for him.

“We’ve had a gr eat s tart with­out a recog­nised num­ber nine and that will give ev­ery­one a lift. H e’s de sper­ate t o play, but it doe s not mak e c om­mon sense risk­ing him y et.”

Skip­per R on V laar will mis s t oday due to a calf com­plaint, but a bug that saw the train­ing ground closed on Mon­day has lifted with all play­ers now re­cov­ered. — S apa­AFP.

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