Chelsea will look to string consecutive wins together when they host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Blues scored a desperately needed win over Bolton on Wednesday but it will count for nothing if the home side does not take all three points against Gerard Houllier’s men.
The match will be no breeze for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, with Villa desperate for points given they are languishing in 15th place on the English Premier League table, just one point above relegation-placed Fulham.
Houllier believes sewing up the defence will be the key to seeing his side climb the table, after allowing six goals into their own net in their past two league affairs.
“We have to be aware that to sort this out we need to work harder as a team to defend and protect the ball,” Houllier told the club’s official site.
“If you don’t do that you are always exposed to conceding goals and that will cost you games.”
“I think we have to be aware that as a team we need to put in more effort to defend.”
“We have improved in terms of passing and movement but this must not bring us to some kind of indulgence on the back of that.”
Ashley Young is back training after recovering from a knee injury, while Emile Heskey is close to returning to ball work at Villa Park after twisting his ankle in their 2-1 Boxing Day loss to Tottenham.
Ancelotti was in no mood to start celebrating his side’s breakthrough win over Bolton, their first in seven league games, saying they needed to set the standard at three points if they are to revive their title-winning form.
“It’s a hard period. That’s normal. It was a very difficult period. We have to keep going now. We have to maintain good focus on our training and on our games,” Ancelotti said.
Villa will be hoping to diminish the memories of their trip to Stamford Bridge from March this year, when they were thrashed 7-1 by a rampant Blues side on their way to the league title.