Maurizio Sarri has expressed hope, rather than conviction, that Chelsea will be at their best at Manchester City on Sunday.
There has been a nine-goal swing in Chelsea’s last two performances.
A 4-0 loss at Bournemouth – Chelsea’s worst in the Premier League since September 1996 – was followed by a 5-0 win over bottom club Huddersfield.
Chelsea’s formation and tactics under Sarri have been predictable – a 4-3-3 line-up, focused on possession – but the results and performances have been anything but.
“In the last match, we reacted really very well,” Sarri said.
“After the match against Huddersfield, I was really very happy with the result, especially with the performance.
“Now we know very well we need consistency. I hope our version on Sunday will be the best.”
Chelsea are unbeaten in seven fixtures against defending champions, having ended City’s 21-match unbeaten run in the league on December 8.
Sarri appears to have taken advice from City boss Pep Guardiola on focusing on 14 players in his first season in English football.
Guardiola endured a challenging first season, in 2016-17, when Antonio Conte’s Chelsea won the title and his side finished third.
Sarri says City’s patient approach was rewarded, with City’s remarkable title success last season built on recruitment and following Guardiola’s approach.
The 60-year-old Italian may not have the pedigree of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss, but he hopes he gets similar time at Chelsea, not a club renowned for patience.
Sarri said: “You are more competitive in the market, or you have to work. I don’t know another way.
“I think we need only to work and we have to try to reduce the gap because at the moment there is a gap.
“Here it’s really very difficult. The Premier League is very competitive. It’s not easy to win, it’s not easy to get (into) the Champions League.
“We need to work, but I think they (City) are an example for every club.”