Chelsea Under-21s head coach Mark Robinson wants to see improved consistency from his team when we return to Premier League 2 action away at Middlesbrough.
Due to the international break and our participation in various cup competitions, it will be exactly one month since our last Premier League 2 fixture when we resume that campaign in Middlesbrough on Sunday 3 December, with kick-off at 1pm.
That last league game was a 2-2 draw with Fulham, but it was followed by a good 2-1 win at Leeds United in the Premier League Cup in our most recent competitive fixture.
With our Under-21s currently sat 11th in the table, but only six points behind Sunday’s opponents in joint-second place, Mark Robinson is hoping to carry the form shown at Leeds into this game to begin closing the gap to the top.
‘The league results have been mixed,’ he said. ‘We’ve given away quite a lot of points from winning positions, against Fulham, Brighton, Leicester, Tottenham. So the league results have been mixed, but we’re still in a good enough position to kick on in the league.
‘But we certainly want to get more consistent in the league and some of our more complete performances have come in the cup. The issue with the league is that there have been some really good halves and 70 minutes, but we haven’t put in any complete performances, which I obviously want to look to do on Sunday.
‘We got a good result in the last game against Leeds, so we want to go and get another positive result up in Middlesbrough.’
Although this will be our first competitive game since 12 November, our preparations were helped by a behind-closed-doors friendly with Strasbourg’s ‘B’ team at Cobham on Tuesday evening, even if the match ended in a 4-1 defeat for the Blues.
Regardless of the result, though, Robinson believes it was a good chance to get back up to speed ahead of the Middlesbrough trip after the international break.
‘Tuesday was important because it was our first game for two-and-a-half weeks,’ he added. ‘So it was really important as many players as possible got good minutes on the pitch, to get that match sharpness back.
‘I think there was a lack of sharpness from us against Strasbourg, especially early on in the game, so that will be important for us leading into the match at Middlesbrough.
‘It’s also important that we don’t dwell on that friendly too much, although we do need to reflect on it now the emotions have died down, because we made it a bit more about players taking ownership for that game.
‘But we got some positive outcomes from it we can use moving into the Middlesbrough game. We had a few more days after Strasbourg to prepare for Sunday, which is good, so we just need to make sure we are sharp and get back to how we performed at Leeds before the break.’