Chelsea's turnaround is being credited to the bonding experienced during their Club World Cup campaign in Japan.

The players are beginning to warm to Benitez, or at least to his systematic approach to games.

And it seems that the time away in Japan was crucial in developing that understanding.

"The travel didn't help but the trip gave the group the chance to emerge," one Chelsea insider told the Mail on Sunday. "Obviously with everyone being away together for that length of time, it allows people's character to come out. In that way, it was like a mini pre-season even if you couldn't do the work you would normally do."