LONDON: Chelsea remain high on confidence despite their poor start to the season, and if anything the current struggles has made the players stronger, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic said ahead of Wednesday's Champions League game at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The Bosnia international is in line to make his debut in the competition against the Israeli side because first-choice Thibaut Courtois is recovering from knee surgery.

Premier League champions Chelsea will be closely scrutinised after slipping to 17th place in the table with only one win from five games.

But Begovic said that self-belief was still high among the squad he joined from Stoke City during the transfer window as replacement for Petr Cech.

"There's always going to be a bit of a hit on confidence when things aren't going your way," he told a news conference.

"But confidence levels are still pretty good.

"I think it's going to make us stronger going forward.

"Something we can't forget is what this group achieved last year. We have some of the best players in the world and we're more than confident we'll get to the levels we want to."

Begovic also backed Jose Mourinho, whom he called "the best manager in the world".

Mourinho told the same news conference that it was "sad" that critics were trying to find problems among his squad that he said did not exist.

"The only problem we have is that we don't have good results," he added.

"In some other clubs you have to go back 10 years to remember good results. Three months ago we were the best team in the country."

He said there would be changes to the team that lost 3-1 at Everton on Saturday, although Colombian striker Radamel Falcao will not be in the squad because of a minor injury.