Chelsea vs Leicester City reaction: Jose Mourinho taking Chelsea improvement 'step-by-step'
The Blues won 2-0 yesterday after overcoming the resilient visitors
Sunday 24 August 2014
Jose Mourinho feels Chelsea have plenty of room for improvement despite making a perfect start to the new Barclays Premier League season - but he is happy to take things "step by step".
The Blues needed more than an hour to finally break down the resistance of a well-organised Leicester side, looking to make their own statement after a decade out of the top flight.
Read more: Match report - Chelsea 2 Leicester 0
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Mourinho had slammed his team as "lazy" in a first half which saw them create few chances, before they rallied, but only after Foxes striker David Nugent had seen a one-on-one chance saved by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, again picked ahead of Petr Cech.
The Chelsea boss was pleased with the response, Oscar hitting the post and £32million striker Diego Costa then scoring his second goal in as many games with a smart close-range finish just after the hour.
Eden Hazard then stroked in a second on 77 minutes which killed off any hope of a comeback by last season's Sky Bet Championship winners.
Mourinho had opted to switch to afternoon training sessions this week in a bid to avert any lethargy from the traditional August sunshine, which failed to materialise.
The Portuguese coach feels things are moving in the right direction and Chelsea can soon find another level when the fixtures start to come thick and fast once the Capital One Cup and Champions League campaigns begin.
"I know that we need to work and improve, especially on the intensity of our game, which I want to be higher defensively," said Mourinho.
"But at the same time I know pre-season was not perfect and we need to go step by step.
"For example, Willian played a fantastic 20 minutes, showing he is coming along, but if I play him from the beginning, his answer would not be the same, also with Ramires.
"I know some players are at the top of their form, like (Branislav) Ivanovic, you can see clearly he is completely ready, and by the other way you can see some players are still up and down, have moments where they lose intensity and creativity.
"But I think this is the beginning of the season, we go step by step."
Leicester's fate is unlikely to be sealed by results at the title contenders, rather what they are able to do against the sides set to contest the battles in the other half of the table.
The Foxes will get some respite when they host Shrewsbury in their midweek cup tie, before preparing for the visit of Arsenal next Sunday.
Manager Nigel Pearson - whose side drew 2-2 with Everton on the opening day and host Manchester United soon after the international break - accepts Leicester have little time to get used to their new surroundings.
"It was always going to be the key factor, whether we could (learn)," said Pearson.
"We don't set standards low, it is whether you are able to adapt quick enough.
"Our performances have suggested we are a very capable side with some very good individual players, but our main strength is, as it was last season, our collective spirit and belief.
"The game at Chelsea shows what a difficult league this is to operate in, but I have every confidence in my players, I have no doubts about that."
Pearson admits Leicester could do with a couple of extra bodies to improve his options.
Midfielder Dean Hammond was forced off at Chelsea after suffering severe cramp while Danny Drinkwater and Matty James are still not yet match fit.
A potential deal to bring in Argentina midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, a free agent after leaving Inter Milan, has stalled, but the Foxes will continue to work right up to the closure of the window on September 1.
"It has been a very problematical window for us, but we have tried to get deals done and we will endeavour to add to the squad," Pearson added.
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