Ben Chilwell believes there must be patience for the rebuilding process at Chelsea to take full effect as the Blues look to return to winning ways in the Premier League away at Fulham this evening.
After going three months without defeat in all competitions, Frank Lampard’s side have stuttered in recent weeks, winning one of their last six league outings. That faltering form has seen us drop down the table but 10 points still covers the top half in this unpredictable season.
As one of our new signings who has settled in quickly, Chilwell acknowledges improvements are needed but also cautions that the team must be given time to gel and our undefeated record through the autumn is a sign that things can click.
‘Of course it’s been a difficult period for all of us,' the defender says ahead of his first west London derby tonight.
‘Although we went on that run of 17 unbeaten games, when you look at the squad with a lot of new players and a lack of pre-season, it was never going to be a completely smooth season.
‘It’s a process and it was always going to be difficult to win things straight away. We want to do that as soon as possible but it was never going to be a smooth journey.’
The England international, who turned 24 just before Christmas, insists a humbling run of results has sharpened focus and fortitude at Cobham, with all eyes now on securing maximum points at Craven Cottage.
‘We’re going through a difficult period now but every team in the league is probably going to go through similar this season,’ he goes on. ‘This little blip has refocused us all, we’re working even harder and it’s humbled us a little bit.
‘It’s a very different and difficult season with everything that’s going on but the important thing now is we just get back to winning ways. We’ve got a big game this weekend so hopefully a win will kick-start us to push on again.’
Chilwell also acknowledges there is a different pressure to win at Chelsea compared with his previous club Leicester City, though he places that in contrast with the privileged position football players are in right now as they continue to play on despite the national lockdown.
‘When you’re at Chelsea, you’re expected to win every week,’ he explains. ‘It’s a massive club and the reason I joined - and why a lot of the boys joined this summer – is because we want to win trophies.
‘We’ve definitely got the squad to do that in time but obviously there is always a scrutiny that comes with playing for this club. We’re very fortunate to be able to come into work every day at the moment and do what we enjoy, which is playing football. It’s very tough for everyone right now so we’re fortunate in that sense.’
Fulham have been revitalised in recent weeks, holding Liverpool and Tottenham to draws during a run of six without defeat in all competitions.
‘It will be very tough,’ Chilwell says of the game. ‘They’ve picked up some very good results against big teams and they’ve got a lot of quality.
‘It’s definitely going to be difficult but it’s a game where we’re 100 per cent focused on trying to get the three points.’