Gary Cahill has warned that Chelsea have yet to produce their best form despite being two points off the top of the league and says people should expect "good things" when the side does click.
While Cahill agrees with José Mourinho's assessment that this is a transitional season for Chelsea, they remain in a strong position to challenge Arsenal and Manchester City for the title and Sunday's 2-1 victory over Liverpool was another reminder of the threat they pose.
There is a sense that Mourinho is instilling greater resilience at Chelsea, who visit Southampton on Wednesday. They were criticised in the build-up to last week's goalless draw at Arsenal following a string of poor results, including being knocked out the Capital One Cup by Sunderland, and they recovered from conceding an early goal to beat Liverpool. They retain the ability to grind out results and Cahill believes their rivals should be wary.
"I was reading a lot of negative things about the team leading up to the Arsenal game but, if we had won then, we would have gone top," the defender said. "We should look at that as a positive. When we do click we can expect good things. It's important we stayed in touching distance. [The Liverpool win] was a massive result because we saw the Arsenal result before and the results of the teams around us on Saturday." The gaffer has touched on the fact that it is a bit of a transitional period but at the same time we have the quality to be competing in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. It's going to be entertaining and will go to the wire but as long as we stay in there we are in with a shout.Cahill has earned praise for his improving partnership in central defence with John Terry. Having secured a clean sheet against Arsenal, the pair kept Luis Suárez quiet against Liverpool and Chelsea have conceded one goal in their past three matches.
"I feel good in the partnership and I feel good in the back four," Cahill said. "I think we've been strong defensively this season. We had a little blip where we conceded a few goals but we've tightened that back up again now. We were disappointed to go down so early on [against Liverpool], but against Southampton we did the same thing. That's clearly not a positive, but it seems to get a reaction from us."