City ace relishing the chance of competing with the champions this weekend...
DARREN FLETCHER says he and his teammates won’t be approaching this weekend’s fixture against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with any apprehension.
The Potters make the journey down to the capital bidding to record a first ever Premier League victory in West London buoyed after registering four points from their two festive fixtures against West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town.
Whilst tomorrow’s encounter represents a greater challenge to the Potters, Fletcher feels the players need to look back no further than the reverse encounter at the bet365 Stadium earlier this season as proof that they can compete against the league’s elite.
“The result back in September suggests they beat us relatively comfortably at home, but the true story of the game is that it was far closer than 4-0 suggests,” he said speaking ahead of the trip.
“They managed to capitalise on every chance that they created on the day and we missed a number of opportunities at key times.
“It may sound strange considering the end result, but if we can replicate the level of performance we showed from the game earlier in the season, and cut out a few of those mistakes, then we can really go there and test them."
“If we give these sort of sides chances, and make a couple of key mistakes, which we did last time, then they are going to punish us, regardless of how well we play throughout the game, so it is absolutely imperative that we cut that out.”
Whilst the odds are stacked firmly in Antonio Conte’s side's favour this weekend, Fletcher says it is far from inconceivable that the Potters can go there and claim maximum spoils for the first time in the Premier League era.
“We are capable of getting a win on Saturday - there is no doubt about it,” he enthused.
“We won't got there thinking about keeping the scoreline down, we will go there with a game plan that we feel gives us the best chance of winning the match.
“We have picked up four points now from two games, we are in a good place and we will go into the game confident of picking up a positive result."
“We want to go into the New Year unbeaten in three and then hopefully extend that run to five, six or even seven matches.”
He added: “Of course the next one is going to be difficult, very difficult, but if we can get something then that would put us in a really strong position going into the New Year - this match is a great challenge for us, and one we are looking forward to.”
Tickets for the New Year’s Day home game against Newcastle United are available – visit the bet365 Stadium Ticket Office, scfcdirect.com/events or call on (01782) 367599.