Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel insists his side are not shying away from their status as one of the favourites for the Premier League title and urged his squad to prove their quality to the rest of the league.
The Blues top the standings after seven games following a strong start to the campaign under the German, who is looking to add the league crown to his collection after guiding the team to the Champions League in the summer.
After the £98million signing of Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea instantly became one of the leading contenders to seal the title and have five wins already this term – putting them a point above Liverpool – and Tuchel wants his squad to be even bolder with their performances to underline their credentials.
‘We want to prove that we deserve to be the favourites and we need a certain mentality to do so,’ he said ahead of their trip to Brentford this Saturday.
‘If favourite means things will be easy, we can’t be more wrong. If being the favourite means we still expect a tough one, then that is what we have to expect. We have to take risks, play with a certain freedom, as with a fear of losing you can win nothing.
‘If you work for Chelsea, you play to win. So you can’t be surprised if you’re the favourites. Does this change our expectation? Hopefully not.’
Chelsea will face something of a banana skin when they face high-flying Brentford away from home, with the newly-promoted Bees proving to be a stubborn side after rising to seventh place. Thomas Frank’s men have three wins and three draws so far – holding Liverpool to a 3-3 draw and beating Arsenal on the opening day.
Tuchel warned his players that Brentford will give everything to down the league leaders and challenged them to match their attitude and intensity.
‘They will be up for it and play with a lot of enthusiasm and finally Chelsea comes not for a cup game or friendly game,’ he added. ‘They have so many points on their side and such good results, they are doing a fantastic job.
‘They will play with courage, confidence but we can’t be surprised. We know this and it will be on us to adapt and accept the situation.
‘They will not gift us a single inch on the field and we have to be ready mentally, physically and tactically. This is not a match about knowing the solutions or trying to out-skill the opponent. We have to match the mentality and attitude.’
The coach confirmed Antonio Rudiger would miss out after picking up an injury with Germany, with Thiago Silva also set to be ruled out having featured for Brazil.
Hakim Ziyech is struggling with a headache but Romelu Lukaku will be fit to play the Bees despite withdrawing from the Belgium squad with muscle fatigue.
Tuchel said the key to Premier League glory would be consistency and a strong mentality, calling on his squad to ‘restart the engine’ after the international break to maintain their challenge.
‘We need to be able to produce results consistently and this is always difficult after travelling and games to different teams, countries and style of play,’ he continued.
‘It’s always a challenge to restart the engine and the momentum. We can call it mentality or whatever, it’s not so easy but on the other hand we are used to it.
‘It’s good that we are aware things can be difficult It will not be easy tomorrow and it’s the good first step that we arrive with that expectation. We face a tough opponent at a difficult moment because they are in a good moment and deserve their points.
‘This is what we have to face and we have to face it with only two training sessions. This is the challenge and we will see how good we are.’