Petr Cech may not want to compare this Chelsea team to others he has been involved with, but the long-serving goalkeeper believes they have “huge potential” this season.
Jose Mourinho’s men have been the campaign’s most impressive side, with last weekend’s loss at Newcastle their only defeat in 24 matches in all competitions.
That ended talk of the west Londoners going through the season unbeaten, yet they remain top of the Premier League after continuing their 100 per cent record at Stamford Bridge by overcoming Hull 2-0.
An injury to Thibaut Courtois saw Cech make his first top-flight start of the season on Saturday, when the Blues’ dominated despite their display lacking the panache of other matches.
“You always look for a response when you have a game when you don’t win and it is not going the way you want,” Cech said.
“You need to find a way to win the next game. It was not an easy one but we managed to get a good result out of that and we controlled it for most of the game because Hull didn’t have a shot on target.
“It is obviously nice to have the game time and the most pleasant part is to have the clean sheet and three points because Hull made it hard for us although we had a good start.
“We scored an early goal but for a long time in the game it was just 1-0. The second goal obviously made a big difference and with the sending off we could control the game.”
While it was not the impressive display Chelsea fans have become accustomed to, there were flashes of the quality which makes them favourites to add to their haul of four league titles.
Cech was between the sticks for three of those triumphs and, while not keen to compare this team to others, believes they can achieve something special.
“We only judge the team when the season is finished and you can see how many trophies the team has in hand,” the 32-year-old told the official club website, www.chelseafc.com.
“It is difficult to say which Chelsea side in history was the best because a lot of them won trophies.
“This team has huge potential, it has been doing really well this season, we are top of the league and have been doing some brilliant games but we are empty-handed at the moment, and I don’t like to compare the teams until the season is finished.”
Chelsea’s first chance of a trophy comes in the Capital One Cup, with Cech likely to remain in goal for Tuesday’s quarter-final at Derby.
Steve McClaren’s side are amongst those vying for promotion from the Championship – a division Hull could soon find themselves unless they buck up their ideas.
The Tigers have not won a league match in nine attempts and could do with a moment of magic to turn decent displays into three points.
Such inspiration is unlikely to come from the boots of Hatem Ben Arfa, though.
An exciting deadline-day loan signing from Newcastle, the 27-year-old has become persona non grata at the KC Stadium and has been omitted from the squad since last month’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester United.
Bruce retains there has been no bust-up with Ben Arfa, although does not expect him to don the amber and black shirt again.
“To be honest, I don’t know if Hatem is in Paris,” the Hull boss said in response to reports the midfielder has returned home. “That’s the truth.
“As for not playing again for Hull City, then at the moment he’s not in the squad and the transfer window opens in January.
“There are still conversations to be had with him, but at the moment he is not in the squad and he hasn’t earned the right to be in the squad at the moment.
“I don’t know if the report he is in France, or whatever it is, is true. I’m not sure.”