Chelsea hope luck turns as black cats loom
Chelsea will step up preparations for Saturday's showdown with fellow Barclays Premier League strugglers Sunderland amid a unified determination to kick-start their faltering campaign.
Following defeat at surprise leaders Leicester on Monday night, Jose Mourinho's men are just one point above the relegation zone in 16th place. Should results go against them this weekend, they could end up in the bottom three for Christmas.
Owner Roman Abramovich continues to hold regular conversations with chairman Bruce Buck, directors Marina Granovskaia and Eugene Tenenbaum as well as Chelsea's technical director Michael Emenalo over the best course of action to arrest the team's alarming slump in form.
There was, though, no emergency meeting scheduled for Wednesday, when Mourinho took training at Cobham after the squad returned from a day off.
Defender Gary Cahill says the players have what it takes to pull themselves clear of trouble.
"Last season was fantastic, this season has been tough, but we're looking to turn that around. We're working hard to make things right," Cahill said in the official Chelsea magazine.
"Not every single minute of your career will go well, individually and collectively, and not every season will go how you want it to, but it's how you react to that.
"When things aren't going well, you work even harder and look for a reaction. I'm sure we'll turn it around."
Midfielder Nemanja Matic echoed Cahill's determination for a positive second half of the campaign.
"I cannot explain why consistency has been so difficult to achieve," Matic said on the club's official website.
"We are sad because of the defeat (to Leicester), but we have to keep going, to try to win some games and to recover from this situation which is not easy for us.
"We have to try to be better than we were."
A campaign which began with defeat in the FA Community Shield against Arsenal at Wembley and a lacklustre 2-2 home draw with Swansea has lurched from one drama to another, including controversy over the treatment of club doctor Eva Carneiro and the fall-off in form of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.
In the wake of Monday night's latest defeat, Mourinho said he felt his "work was betrayed" by the players not following directions on how to nullify the Foxes attack, with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez both on target in the 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium.