Maurizio Sarri explains why Chelsea dip was hard to avoid and where progress prevails

Chelsea won at the weekend, but the manner of the victory at Cardiff following on from defeat at Everton and a draw at home to Wolves in our previous two league games means recent weeks are not being rated a good spell of the season, despite smooth passage past Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League.

Maurizio Sarri and his side will be hoping for a morale-boosting performance when they take to the pitch tonight against Brighton, and ahead of the game the boss has been explaining why he had anticipated difficult periods in his first season in the Premier League.

‘We are not playing very well our football, we need to improve in playing our way of football, so we are trying to do this but it is not easy,’ he explained, ‘especially in the first season because we started to work only in the middle of July and at the beginning of August we played the first official match, then we worked for a couple of weeks and then we started to play every three days and so it is not easy for me to play my football.

‘Probably our fans thought it would be an easy season for us,’ he added when considering our good start to the campaign which had us unbeaten until early December, 'but in the Premier League it is not easy and every match is very difficult, every team is really very strong and so it is difficult to be in the top four in this championship.

‘We had to face difficulties, it was clear, we started very well, a bit lucky in some matches with a very great level of enthusiasm, but of course I knew very well it was not easy and sooner or later we had to face big difficulties.’

Despite not having as many hours with his squad on the pitches at Cobham as he would like, Sarri is able report progress is being made.

‘It is not easy for the players but they are improving, they are improving in being a group, they are improving in character, now we need to improve in playing our football and performances, then the results will be a consequence.

‘I need to work, and in the first season it was impossible to work.’

More from chelsea