Jose Mourinho has lavished praise on Chelsea duo Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas, claiming the link-up between the two midfielders is crucial to maintaining the team's balance.

The Blues beat Aston Villa 3-0 on Saturday 27 September to prolong their unbeaten start to the season and keep the Premier League lead, with five victories and just one draw from the first six games.

Oscar, Diego Costa and Willian scored the goals but Mourinho focused his compliments on the solid midfield shaped by Matic and Fabregas.

"They were fantastic in the way they moved the ball and their position when we didn't have the ball," the manager said, according to Chelsea's official website.

"They were always in a good position to try to stop Villa counter-attacking, because we know they have good fast players on the counter-attack, so the team played really well.

"Villa have won two matches away from home, scoring one goal [in each]. If you want to win you have to have the ball but at the same time prevent the counter-attack from happening, keep a balance in the team. The way we positioned Matic and Fabregas we gave the team a good balance."

The Portuguese manager also has hailed Willian's impressive performance after a struggling start to the campaign.

Having previously started just one Premier League game this season, the Brazilian international took Mourinho's chance to prove his worth, scoring one goal and providing Oscar the assist for the opening strike.

"Willian didn't start the season well. Everyone that came from the Brazil national team without a proper holiday had enough time in the pre-season to start the season in a very strong way. Now they are getting into the intensity of the game. Players need holidays and a proper pre-season," Mourinho said.

However, the manager has criticised Eden Hazard for his poor performance against Villa, although he claims he is not concerned as he expects future improvements from the Belgium star.

"Eden Hazard started the season well, played good matches but had an isolated not good performance. But no dramas and I'm not too worried about it. It was not his day."