Mauricio Pochettino has urged Chelsea fans “to believe and trust in us” after their latest Premier League setback at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues looked like they had turned a corner after a stalled start to the season only to lose 2-0 at home to Brentford on Saturday – their third home defeat of the season which leaves them 11th in the table – 14 points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea now take on second-tier Blackburn Rovers in the League Cup on Wednesday as they look to pick themselves up from their West London derby defeat and secure a place in the quarter-final draw.
After the cup game at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea face the toughest of Premier League fixture schedules starting with an away clash at table-topping Tottenham Hotspur on Monday. Pochettino's side then face treble winners Manchester City at home, Newcastle United away, Brighton at home and Manchester United away.
Keeping the fans onside during that run will be a major test for Pochettino whose team has yet to gel after a summer that saw a huge turnover of players.
The final whistle against Brentford was met by a chorus of boos from those fans still left in the stadium which had seen a mass exodus following Bryan Mbeumo's goal deep into injury-time that sealed Brentford's win. The defeat means Chelsea have managed just one win out of six league games this season.
And despite this disastrous record at the Bridge, Pochettino urged supporters to keep the faith ahead of taking on Blackburn.
“I know it is difficult to keep your feelings but it is normal,” said the Argentine coach. “The fans want to win and sometimes are frustrated when we don't win. The message is to believe and trust in us and in the end it is about the process.
“Always it's about when you try to create something new and you are building. The circumstances are not helping us to go as fast as we want but that is the normal process, up and down.
Chelsea 0 Brentford 2: Player ratings
“It’s important for us to go forward in this competition, to build momentum, and after go to Tottenham and receive Manchester City with the trust and the confidence we can beat them also.”
Pochettino insists luck has not been with side so far, highlighting the loss of £52 million summer signing from RB Leipzig Christopher Nkunku to injury.
The 25-year-old forward needed surgery on his knee after being forced off the pitch during the first half of Chelsea’s final pre‑season friendly against Borussia Dortmund. He joined defender Wesley Fofana on the long-term injury list.
“It’s not fair to talk because so many details happened,” said Pochettino on Tuesday when asked whether this season's poor form had surprised him.
“You always need some luck. One situation that happened is the injury of Nkunku. We signed him with the objective of providing the team goals. We know we cannot complain but I think we deserve more.”
There was some good news on the injury front with Pochettino able to confirm that club captain Reece James will be able to start for the first time in nearly three months after making cameo appearances off the bench against Arsenal and Brentford.
James has not played since the season opening home draw against Liverpool due to a hamstring problem. “I want to confirm only one player but the captain is ready,” said Pochettino. “It is good for the team and it’s good for him to start from the beginning.
“It is going to be really important for us. We are going to try to play with our best team. Maybe there are some players we need to rest because after Saturday we cannot take some risks.”