UNDER 21S: BOUNCING BACK
Our Under-21s will be hoping to record a first win of the new season when we take on Southampton tonight, in a match which can be seen live and exclusive on Chelsea TV.
The young Blues were beaten 4-2 by Tottenham Hotspur a week ago in our opening game of the 2013/14 campaign, ensuring tonight's clash, which takes place at St Mary's, takes on greater significance.
Having taken the lead against the north London side through a Josh McEachran penalty, the visitors scored three times before the break, and manager Dermot Drummy felt we had little room for complaint.
'We got beaten by the better side on the night, but I felt we shot ourselves in the foot with some of the decision-making when playing out,' he tells the official Chelsea website.
'We have to take the defeat on the chin and try to correct the errors. We did things that we shouldn't do and we gave Spurs the ball in high-risk positions, so we have to look to eradicate that.
'The boys feel the defeat and that's what you want. They learn individually because we've gone through it this week with them. They have to go out at St Mary's tonight and express themselves; we don't want them playing with fear but we need to be a bit sharper as a team than we were against Spurs.'
Tonight's match provides our youngsters with an immediate opportunity to bounce back and secure a positive result, and they will undoubtedly have been lifted having trained under the watchful eye of a certain Portuguese at Cobham earlier this week.
'It's nice that another game has come around quickly,' explains Drummy. 'We then play Leicester City next week at Stamford Bridge, which is what we want; we want to train and then play a game.
'The squad is nicely balanced and the boys have had two days' training with Jose and the first team players who didn't go away on international duty, so that was a massive plus for them. It's important for them to see the next level and how Jose works. They've had a very positive week and are upbeat.'
If there was one plus point to take from the defeat against Spurs, it was a debut goal for young striker Isaiah Brown, who scored a consolation late in the game.
Having only recently joined the club from West Bromwich Albion, Brown enjoyed a solid pre-season campaign and appears to have settled in to his new surroundings quickly.
'I'm really impressed with his attitude in training, but what he gives you above all else is pace in behind,' says Drummy. 'He's only 16-years-old and he scored a good goal late in the game last week. His work-rate is fantastic and he's always a goal threat, so to have him playing in the number nine position is great for us.'
Over the years, the Southampton Academy has produced a number of talented players who have gone on to play at the highest level, including the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gareth Bale.
Drummy, though, while acknowledging the quality of our opponents, is confident we can emerge from St Mary's with a much-needed three points.
'We watched a video of their game against Liverpool, which they won 4-3,' he explains. 'They're very quick on the wings with Scott Sinclair's brother [Jake], and we'll need to be on our mettle, but that's what we want.
'We've done our work, we know what their strengths are, but we feel the way we play can hurt teams who attack us, so I'm sure it will be an entertaining game.'
Tonight's game can be seen live on Chelsea TV, with coverage beginning at 7.30pm.