Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has warned his players ahead of the visit of Everton today that they could be embroiled in a relegation battle with defeats to Everton and Arsenal in the next two games.
Chelsea, who romped to the title last season eight points clear at the top, were held to a 2-2 draw by West Brom on Wednesday after James McClean equalized in the last minutes of the game. Chelsea are now 14th on the table after 21 games, four places and six points above the relegation zone.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of Everton’s visit to the Stamford Bridge, Hiddink said they must be realistic about where they are in the table and the relegation zone (the bottom three) shouldn’t be forgotten about.
“There is a 12-point difference from fourth place, which is a gap,” he said. “We all like to look forward towards the top of the table, but we also have to be realistic and see we are six points away from the relegation line. That’s also a fact,” he explained.
“We have to work hard and be very concentrated,” he added. “We have to gather our points to step up. That’s why it is a pity West Brom got this 86th-minute equaliser because a win would have helped us a lot in going up the table.
“If you don’t gather points, you don’t know what the others can do. The Premier League can surprise you.”
Chelsea’s predicament prompted Jose Mourinho departure last month and Hiddink’s appointment.