Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino will hope his side can finally be rewarded for the chances they’ve created this season when they visit Fulham in Monday’s West London Derby.
After last year’s disappointing 12th-place finish, Chelsea (1-3-2, 5 points) haven’t been able to shake off that uneven form under their new manager despite signs that the substance of the play is improving.
The primary issue has been an injury-plagued attacking group that hasn’t converted chances. Striker Nicolas Jackson, a signing in the summer, has scored only once so far in the league and the Blues as a group have gone goal-less in their last three league matches.
It’s a trying run, but one Pochettino says he’s more equipped to handle now than in previous Premier League managerial stints at Southampton and Tottenham.
“My balance is much better than 10 years ago” he said. “I am more mature now and I try to keep calm. I hope my wife is happy with my behavior now!
“The coaching staff are also more mature. We are not affected too much emotionally, unlike in the past. Even when we win, we keep calm, and when the team is not so good, we keep calm also, to try to identify the best solution for the future.”
Jackson did score midweek in a 1-0 League Cup victory over Brighton, which Chelsea will hope can result in some positive momentum for Monday night’s trip to a Fulham side that has also had some early struggles.
After Fulham (2-2-2, 8 points) earned plaudits for their free-flowing approach to games last season, manager Marco Silva’s squad has had to weather the departure of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and lean into more pragmatic tactics.
Both the Cottagers’ league wins have come via 1-0 scores, and they have yet to see a player score multiple league goals this campaign. (Carlos Vinicius did add a second goal in all competitions in a 2-1 midweek League Cup win over Norwich City.)
And despite sitting slightly higher in the table, Silva still sees Chelsea as a side with enormous potential.
“Chelsea is Chelsea,” he stated. “No one can underestimate them because the quality is there.
“Of course, they haven’t started the way they would like. Since Mauricio (Pochettino) came in, he is trying to get the things in the right direction for them to fight for titles, like they want to be, but really that’s not the most important thing for us. We will look for ourselves.”