Chelsea star Eden Hazard says the Blues have started the defence of their Premier League title poorly because "everyone wants to kill you" when you are champions
The Blues have won just one of their opening four matches of the season, and have a total of just four points, already finding them eight points down on early pace-setters Manchester City, who have won all four of their matches without conceding a goal.
Jose Mourinho suffered just his second loss in 100 Premier League matches against Crystal Palace and Chelsea return to action with a difficult trip away to Everton on Saturday.
Hazard is one of a number of players who have particularly struggled in comparison to last season - the Belgian winger won Player of the Year last season but is yet to score this season.
"It's difficult to play as a champion because everyone wants to beat you, everyone wants to kill you," he told fashion website HypeBeast.
"We wear the gold badge and... yeah, it's very good. We had a fantastic season last season... if we could do the same this season we'd be good."
Mourinho labelled Hazard one of the three best players in the world last term, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Hazard added: "Every day I try to reach a better level. This is my job, every day I try to score. Every game I try to score. I just want to be champion. I just want to be a champion and win everything like I did last season."
Diego Costa made a stunning start to life at Chelsea last season and scored nine goals in his first seven league games, including two in a 6-3 win at Goodison Park.
The Spain striker, though, has only struck once for club and country this season.
After Spain's win in Macedonia, Costa said to Spanish newspaper AS: "I've got a lot to improve and I've got to start scoring goals.
"There will be no lack of effort on my part. I'll keep working hard at my club to improve. I am always filled with ambition whenever I get called for the national team.
"On a personal level I am not happy because I didn't manage to score."
Additional reporting from PA
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies