Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blues off Colour but Ominously They're Still in the Mix; Football Correspondent

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blues off Colour but Ominously They're Still in the Mix; Football Correspondent

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson

norwich 1 chelsea 3 THE timing of the October international break always provides the first genuine opportunity to reflect on the opening of a League campaign and Chelsea's position in the table must worry their rivals.

Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge has been far from smooth. The team have struggled to adapt to new tactics, the quality of the squad has come under scrutiny as has his treatment of players such as Juan Mata.

Only last week, there was talk he was feeling the pressure after ending a pre-match press conference in Bucharest prematurely.

It has also taken Chelsea nearly two months to secure their first League win away from home, which was finally achieved here at Carrow Road yesterday.

However, despite all their teething problems, Chelsea are third in the table just two points behind Arsenal and Liverpool.

Given those two sides have been playing close to their best, it must be a source of great encouragement for Mourinho to know that his team have so much more improving to do and yet so little ground to make up.

The same can be said for both Manchester clubs, who were tipped to be Chelsea's main title rivals and are surprisingly behind Mourinho's men.

Talk to any veteran from a titlewinning side and they will often state you cannot win a championship in the first few months of the campaign but you can lose it.

In many ways, this is a very similar start to the one the club made under Mourinho first time around, when they ground out results in the first nine League games in 2004 before really starting to find form.

Chelsea will hope history repeats itself because they won the League that season with a record points tally.

Branislav Ivanovic is aware that for all the talk of Chelsea's struggles compared to the exciting performances by Arsenal and Liverpool, victory over Norwich has put them in a good position.

"I think this year is going to be a very tough, a very difficult League," said the defender. …

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