LONDON, (AFP) – Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will aim to extend their unbeaten start to the Premier League season and inconvenience one of their early rivals when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City ended Chelsea’s perfect start to their league campaign, but they remain at the head of the table, three points clear of Southampton and Villa.
Few people expected Villa to figure so pro-minently towards the top of the division, but having edged Championship side Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the League Cup on Wednesday, Chelsea are in the groove.
And with a number of senior players, including in-form striker Diego Costa, set to return to the line-up after being rested, confidence is running high among Mourinho’s players.
“It’s great to have a winning mentality,” said centre-back Gary Cahill.
“If you have a couple of sticky results, it puts the pressure on going into games, but at the moment we’re unbeaten, we’re going well, and we should have confidence, especially playing in front of our own fans at Stamford Bridge.”
Mourinho used the opportunity of Bolton’s visit to give a number of his fringe players some much-needed match action.
Filipe Luis made only his third appea-rance since his £16 million ($26.1 million, 20.5 million euros) move from Atletico Madrid.
The left back has yet to start a league game as Mourinho continues to favour the right-footed Cesar Azpilicueta in the role, but Luis says he has no complaints about having to wait for opportunities.
“It’s brilliant to be at this club. It’s a great feeling,” he said. “Every time I play and train, I feel I’m at a big club. Everyone wants to play. If you don’t, normally you’re not happy.
“But when I came here, I spoke with Mourinho and I knew I’d come to Chelsea to be a champion, not to be the best left back or best crosser or something.”
Luis added: “When you work with Mourinho, you have to know that the group, the collective, is above the individual. I don’t think about myself right now.
“The team are doing a great job. We won the first four league games and drew the fifth one. I have nothing to complain about. I have to wait for my chance and when it comes, I must make sure I don’t go out of the first XI.”
Ramires is doubtful to face Villa after the Brazilian midfielder suffered an adductor problem against City.
Villa remain without star striker Christian Benteke, but he has returned to training following an Achilles injury and will be considered for next weekend’s game against City.
The Belgian has missed the last five months, including the World Cup, and manager Paul Lambert said: “He’s getting closer. Next week we will see how he is for the Man City game. “I’m not saying he’ll start,but he’s certainly getting close.”