Chelsea must build on the positive steps it has taken in recent weeks when it hosts Aston Villa in the Premier League this weekend, manager Graham Potter said on Friday.
Chelsea looked rejuvenated this month after a run of three straight wins in all competitions snapped a six-match winless streak, but its momentum was slowed by a 2-2 draw at home to Everton.
The London club is 10th in the league standings with 38 points, but 11th-placed Villa is level on points and will overtake if it wins at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
“We’ve made some steps and we need to carry on with that,” Potter told reporters ahead of the game.
“We need to attack better, create better, defend better. Sounds simple but that’s what we need to do. The players are feeling good, they’re professional, they know they can handle the recovery from international duty.
“There’s a nice spirit in the team and group.”
Potter added that Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante, who injured his hamstring in August, had made further progress in his recovery during the international break.
Kante’s return is a much-needed boost for Chelsea, which plays six games in the next 18 days, including two Champions League quarterfinals against Real Madrid.
“N’Golo (Kante) has been able to get some more time on the pitch and a bit of game time and a handful of players had solo sessions,” Potter said.
“The rest of us were analysing and looking at how we can improve for this weekend. It’s going to be an exciting month, but our focus is to stay present for our next game against Villa. We want to respond to the game against Everton.”
Potter said Chelsea will be without Thiago Silva, Raheem Sterling and Cesar Azpilicueta for the game against Villa.
“Mason Mount trained and is available but Wesley Fofana will miss the game because his hamstring is tight,” Potter said.
“Christian Pulisic had a heavy cold returning from international duty. Kai (Havertz) had a fever but he’s recovered now and Reece James has had the last two sessions with us so he should be available.”
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