Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expects to beat West Bromwich Albion on Saturday but does not believe his side will become complacent in their quest for the Premier League title following an unbeaten start to the season.
Having collected 29 points from 11 matches, table-topping Chelsea have a four-point advantage over Southampton and with champions Manchester City eight points back in third, few would predict the Premier League title going anywhere other than Stamford Bridge.
But speaking at a news conference on Friday ahead of the visit of 13th-placed West Brom, Mourinho said his side would not be resting on their laurels.
“I expect to win, but I expect a very, very difficult match,” Mourinho said. “They have a good team, they can give us a very difficult match.
“We have a situation now, but our distance to our opponents tomorrow can increase or decrease. In this moment I don’t think about being champion, I just think about beating West Brom.”
“(There is) no complacency. If we lose matches, and I believe we will, it will not be because of complacency but because this is football.”
Mourinho is “hopeful” midfielder Cesc Fabregas will be fit to face West Brom after struggling with a thigh injury and Andre Schuerrle and Ramires are back in contention after overcoming knocks.
Chelsea top-scorer Diego Costa, who was rested by Spain during the international break, has “totally recovered” from persistent hamstring and groin problems, and Mourinho is looking forward to the striker firing on all cylinders once again.
“In these past two weeks he had a little bit of a holiday,” he said. “But the holiday he spent with a Chelsea physio, so even on that small period of holiday he was working many, many hours per day with our physio.
“He keeps going in the right direction and in this moment we feel that he is free of his old injuries.”
However, the Chelsea boss did concede that Costa, who has scored 10 Premier League goals this season, may struggle to adapt to the hectic fixture schedule at the end of December.
“We are going to have a period that is new for him,” Mourinho said.
“I always think that the Christmas period for players that do it for the first time in their careers is more difficult.”