Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has rubbished claims that his side don't care about their poor run of form, but has conceded that they need to start playing as a team rather than as individuals.
The Blues have struggled to find consistency in recent weeks, with their Carabao Cup semi-final win over Spurs and their 5-0 Premier League destruction of Huddersfield Town marred by hammering at the hands of Bournemouth and Manchester City. As things stand, Chelsea look unlikely to secure a top four finish, and may miss out on qualifying for the Champions League.
Speaking ahead of the Blues' FA Cup fifth round clash against Manchester United, via Sky Sports, Zola discussed the mentality of his players, saying: "I think this group, like in the one I had in my time (as a Chelsea player), didn't like losing. Maybe they are showing it in another way but it's wrong to make comparisons like that.
"We believe that we didn't like (losing to City) and they reacted yesterday and they continue to react. It would be good if we could react more as a team rather than as individuals. Against Manchester City we reacted, yes, but reacted individually. There were players taking the responsibility and they wanted to change the situation on their own.
"But what we are building here is a philosophy of playing and we need to learn to react altogether. It's not enough that just one player gets the ball and tries to beat two players. That's not the way we try to win games. But if you ask me, I don't believe that this group doesn't care. They care. They just need to get this understanding of working together."
Zola went on to discuss the tactics of managerMaurizio Sarri, who has come under fire from Chelsea fans for his unwillingness to compromise the 'Sarri-ball' philosophy despite the side's bad form. Zola said: "Of course when you lose 6-0 you don't enjoy it (the tactics), but we also won 5-0 and everyone enjoyed that.
"But again, there is a stage when you are working on something that, when it's still not in place, it can be hard, but there will be a moment when you are going to enjoy it a lot more than at the moment...I believe the players are enjoying what they're doing, and like what we're doing.
"I also know that there are moments when we lose and things don't work it's painful. But we continue because we believe in what we're doing."