Cesar Azpilicueta sends 'reality' warning to Chelsea after Nottingham Forest draw
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has warned the Blues must accept the reality of their situation as they battle to stop the major slump that has plagued the early months of Graham Potter's time in charge.
After an initially bright start, Potter's Chelsea have fallen down to eighth in the table - behind local rivals Fulham - and have won just one of their last eight domestic games. That run could get worse before it gets better as Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
The latest poor performance from Chelsea was Sunday's catastrophic 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest, in which the Blues were largely outplayed by the relegation candidates and fortunate to walk away with a point.
After the Forest game, Azpilicueta challenged Chelsea to wake up and understand the severity of the situation.
“We’re disappointed, of course," he told Sky Sports. "That was not the way we wanted to start the new year and we’re disappointed to lose two points.
"Every game that you don’t win is another chance missed, but this is the reality and when you see the table, this is where we are. We need to have a very good second half of the season if we want to achieve a Champions League spot next season."
Chelsea now sit seven points adrift of the top four, having played as many games as fourth-placed Manchester United and with a game in hand over fellow European hopefuls Fulham and Tottenham.
The immediate challenge for the Blues, however, is to ensure they remain in the top half of the table after this round of fixtures. With a clash with City on the cards, Chelsea could find themselves falling as low as 11th if results go against them.