CHELSEA skipper Reece James says there is no shortage of confidence within the Blues squad after some recent impressive results.
Mauricio Pochettino’s young side may only sit 10th in the Premier League table, but belief levels have been boosted by the 4-1 win at Spurs and that epic 4-4 draw with Manchester City.
This weekend sees the Londoners head north to Newcastle, a tricky looking encounter against one of their main rivals for a European spot.
And James wants to build on the momentum of those two results against Tottenham and the treble winners as Chelsea prepare to go into the busiest month of the season.
He told Chelsea’s website: “We’re still a fairly new group. The more time we spend with each other the more understanding we have.
“That helps us. We have come a long way.
“Our performances in the past five or six weeks have picked up.
“Everyone is happy around the place.
“Our confidence is growing. Results help that – it’s the starting point.
“When we’re performing well as a team, people are going to try more things and look more confident.
“We’ve had a tough run of games and we’ve picked up some good points. We have stepped up. We need to keep building on this now.”
James’ campaign has been disrupted by the hamstring injury he sustained in the opening day 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
The defender started in both the Spurs and City games before being substituted, but he believes it won’t be long before a full game is completed.
He explained: “I definitely feel my strength and fitness building up again.
“Recently, I’ve been able to play consistently.
“I haven’t been able to play 90 minutes yet, but I’m training and playing hard and pushing the limits every day to get back to my best level.”
James added: “I’m happy to be helping the team again as well.
“After almost three months out, it takes a while to build back up and find your form again.
“Some people think as soon as you come back you should instantly be at the level you left at, but it doesn’t work like that.
“You have to move slow and steady. That’s what I have been doing – I’m slowly progressing.”
Most of James’ spell as skipper this season has been spent on the sidelines, although he has been happy to consult with one senior pro in particular on what the role involves.
He said: “The captaincy has been great, but it was difficult when I wasn’t fit because it is hard to affect things as much when I’m not with the group all the time.
“Thiago (Silva) probably helps me the most whenever I’m unsure, or I feel like I need advice on something.
“He is nearly old enough to be my dad, so he is the person I go to.
“It’s not for me to say what sort of captain I am, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. It’s an honour.”