UNDER-21S PREVIEW: FINDING A BALANCE
Dermot Drummy is confident our Under-21s can maintain their current form and make it three straight victories when we take on Norwich City at the Electrical Services Stadium tonight, a game which can be seen live on Chelsea TV.
The young Blues started the season in disappointing fashion, losing 4-2 at home to Tottenham Hotspur, but since then have bounced back impressively.
A 4-1 away win at Southampton was followed by the 5-1 victory against Leicester City at Stamford Bridge, and Drummy has been pleased with the reaction of his players.
'The only thing that was poor against Tottenham was that we let them play and stop our game, and you have to give credit to them to a point, but to win the next two games without what I would call our senior players was pleasing,' he tells the official Chelsea website.
'The dynamics of the team are working how I want them to be. I want the players to be hungry and to have to fight for their places; I don't want anybody to just feel like they can get into the team because of their status.'
Our attacking play over the course of the last two matches has been particularly impressive, with Islam Feruz and Isaiah Brown providing a real threat in the final third, aided in no small part by the creativity of players such as Lewis Baker, Jeremie Boga and John Swift in midfield.
Drummy expects us to create opportunities against the Canaries once again, but feels it shouldn't be to the detriment of our defensive responsibilities.
'I think we'll always score goals because of the way we play and the quality of players we have,' he explains. 'But when teams sit off us we need to break them down without leaving ourselves too open, which we did against Leicester.
'We are adventurous and we do play creative football, but looking at the bigger picture, there are times when we need to be able to lock the game up.'
While we will undoubtedly approach the game in positive spirits, the visitors are more than capable of posing their own threat.
The Norwich academy got the better of our Under-18s over two legs in the FA Youth Cup final last season, but Drummy, while expecting a tough encounter, believes his side can benefit from having spent the international break training with the first team.
'Norwich are a decent academy, which we saw in last season's Youth Cup,' he says. 'They like to counter because they've got the quick Murphy twins (Jake and Josh), but we've got enough to unlock the door.
'I think it could be crucial to get a goal to open them up and then if they come out and play we can hurt them even more.
'The boys, after training with the first team, have been able to go away and start preparing for what will be a tough game against Norwich, and we want to put in a winning performance.'
Tickets for the game, which kicks off at 7.05pm, are available on arrival at the stadium, priced £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors, with Chelsea and Aldershot season ticket holders gaining free entry on production of their season tickets.