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'Chelsea showing flashes of form'

CHELSEA assistant manager Steve Holland believes Jose Mourinho's men demonstrated their Premier League title credentials in Saturday's controversial come-from-behind 4-1 defeat of Cardiff.

On a dramatic afternoon at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea equalised through a goal which contravened rules – Samuel Eto'o kicked a ball bounced by Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall, leading to Eden Hazard's first goal – Mourinho was sent to the stands for berating the officials and the Blues finished with a flourish to move second in the table.

Asked how close Chelsea, who play Schalke in Champions League Group E tomorrow, are to their best, Holland said: "I think you see flashes of it.

"There aren't many teams at the moment who are hitting that maximum level consistently.

"It's an impossibility to be rolling along beautifully week after week after week.

"What you have got to accept is that when you're flowing things flow, when you're not flowing you've still got to get results that give you a chance of being around for the titles.

"That's what we're doing at the moment that perhaps we haven't always managed to do previously."

Chelsea also relied on late rallies in their previous two Premier League games, in the 3-1 win at Norwich and against Cardiff.

"It's a sign of progress," Holland said.



Fulham boss Martin Jol has offered encouraging words to his fans and those at Crystal Palace after both sides' poor start to the Premier League season.

"Even when you're in the bottom three at Christmas, it doesn't mean you will go down," he said ahead of tonight's clash at Selhurst Park.

Jol denied speculation morale is dipping in the dressing room.

"We've got a great team spirit, we've got new players in, I've got all these players, 80 per cent of the players are my players and the other players are here for at least two years, so there's no problem," he said.

Scott Parker will make a return to Fulham's midfield if he is fit, while Dimitar Berbatov is expected to line out.

3Crystal Palace v Fulham, Sky Sports 1, KO 8.0