It’s too early for season defining matches but Chelsea’s trip to Wembley this weekend to face Spurs is a huge game for the champions.
The shock defeat at home to Burnley has turned the pressure back up on Antonio Conte as he takes a weakened squad to play their London rivals.
Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are suspended following their dismissals against the Clarets, meaning Tiemoue Bakayoko could make his debut following his summer signing from Monaco. France midfielder Bakayoko had a slight knee injury when he joined Chelsea.
“He’s not at the top of physical condition, but he could be in contention for the game because at this moment I don’t have other midfielders available” Conte said.
Pedro (ankle) is a major doubt, and while fellow forward Eden Hazard is continuing his recovery from a broken ankle he is not available.
“We must have patience with him,” Conte said of Hazard.
Victor Moses is available again following his one-match suspension.
Conte says Chelsea must try to emulate Tottenham, who are now in their fourth season under Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs have challenged for the title in the last two seasons, only for Leicester and then Chelsea to triumph, and Conte has admiration for the work of Pochettino.
Conte said: “I think Tottenham is doing a great job in these years. I think Pochettino is doing a great job. He created a good foundation for his club.
“I think we must do the same, because now we don’t have this base, this foundation, like Tottenham.
“Now we don’t have this. We need time. Chelsea needs time to work, to improve, to create this.
“We must have patience to build something important for the present, but above all for the future.”
After Spurs, Chelsea face a tricky home tie against Everton before the international break. Conte and Chelsea cannot afford to go into that break winless and potentially 9 points behind one or both Manchester clubs.