Jose Mourinho has dismissed the possibility of complacency creeping in at Chelsea as the runaway leaders prepare to face the side which inflicted their most recent Barclays Premier League defeat.
Chelsea are six points clear at the top of the table after 12 games and unbeaten in 19 matches in all competitions this season.
Mourinho's side beat Schalke 5-0 on Tuesday night to advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League and now travel to Sunderland seeking to consolidate their position at the top of the standings.
It was the Black Cats who ended Mourinho's 77-game unbeaten home Premier League run in April in a bad-tempered meeting which remains Chelsea's most recent domestic defeat.
Some pundits and bookmakers expect Chelsea to romp away with the title, but Mourinho is adamant his squad will not get ahead of themselves.
"Complacency is not a risk we have," Mourinho said.
"It's not a profile of this group in this moment. We have all the other risks. The risks that belong to football - the risk of a bad period, injuries, unlucky matches, other teams growing up and becoming stronger...
"We were winning 5-0 against Schalke and (in) minute 88 Eden Hazard made a sprint to defend.
"There was a clear evolution and I don't think the group as a group can be complacent."
Mourinho denied complacency was a factor in the loss to Sunderland, which prompted an irate response from the Chelsea boss and his assistant Rui Faria, who was issued with a six-match stadium ban for criticising match officials. He added: "I don't call that complacency. I call that other things. Lots of water passed already under the bridge. That match was impossible to win. But we move on."
So scintillating have Chelsea been at times this term that it is difficult for many to see how they can improve.
A link with Barcelona's Lionel Messi circulated on social media this week, but Mourinho dismissed that possibility. "It's so easy to have non-truths circulating, it's so easy that some people put news without confirming (it)," Mourinho said.