London: Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic believes the earlier-than-usual start to the Premier League season has hurt the team`s performance, the London Evening Standard reported on Thursday.
The champions have just one point from their opening two games after drawing 2-2 against Swansea City at home in their Premier League opener and then being trounced 3-0 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The 2014-15 season kicked off on Aug. 8, about a week to 10 days earlier than in each of the last three years, to give England manager Roy Hodgson time to prepare his side for the European Championship next June.
Matic said players who returned to pre-season only last month had paid the price for losing out on training time.
"Those 10 days in terms of preparation between what we did last year and this year make a difference and is maybe a problem," the 27-year-old Serb was quoted as saying by the paper.
"But it is not just for us, it`s for every team. This is football. We have to cope with that," he added.
Matic is confident that his side will recover soon.
"I feel in training that everyone is hungry, everyone wants to win the title. We know what we have to do," he said
"Step by step we will get better. I`m sure we will improve. Chelsea will fight for the title for sure," he added.