Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has claimed that fans in west London have set the bar too high for themselves this season, adding that the club's recent turn in fortunes was always going to be inevitable.
The Blues got off to a flying start under the former S.S.C. Napoli manager in 2018 and were even being tipped as potential title contenders, but results have gone against them recently and they're now sat in sixth place in the Premier League table.
Sarri insists that Chelsea's drop in form this season has been completely normal and that fans have probably become numb to the idea of an adjustment period as they're too used to success following the last few years.
"Yes, as I said before, probably we started too well. Probably our fans thought that it would be an easy season for us," Sarri said, quoted by football.london. "In the Premier League, I think that it's not easy.
"Every match is very difficult, every team is really very strong. It's really very difficult to be in the top four in this championship.
"Yes, yes. Yes, as I said in every press conference [I expected the team to fall away]. We had to face difficulties. Because we have.
Sarri talks about deciding at the start of the season that Callum Hudson-Odoi should be in the squad, but he needed then to improve. The boss says that has happened and now he is ready to play. Sarri says that probably Hudson-Odoi will start tomorrow's game. #CHEBHA— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 2, 2019
"We started very well, a bit lucky in some matches with a very great level of enthusiasm. But I knew very well that it wasn't easy and, sooner or later, we'd have to face big difficulties.
"Probably, in the last seasons, they were used to winning. So probably they thought that it was normal to continue to win. But it's not normal.
"I think that the other teams, in the last seasons, have improved a lot from all points of view. So now, the Premier League is really, really very difficult, also for a big club like Chelsea."
Sarri added that Chelsea's fortunes can still turnaround once again this season but only if the club starts putting performances together on the pitch, claiming that winning games is merely a "consequence" of what the team produces on the pitch.