Guus Hiddink has challenged his Chelsea flops to rediscover the winning formula as they start the new year with a tricky trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Hiddink’s side have drawn against Watford and Manchester United since the Dutchman returned for his second spell as Chelsea interim manager following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
That those two workmanlike performances were regarded as cause for encouragement shows just how far the champions had fallen during the miserable final days of Mourinho’s troubled reign.
In a reversal of fortune that would have seemed remarkable at the end of last season when Chelsea were hoisting the Premier League trophy after beating Palace, Alan Pardew’s fifth placed Eagles are now 11 points above the 14th-placed Blues.
Chelsea are only three points above the relegation zone and their struggles have been so prolonged that the club’s hierarchy are reportedly concerned about the lack of wage-reducing relegation clauses in their highly-paid players’ contracts.
Hiddink knows Chelsea need to improve quickly to avoid a nerve-wracking fight against relegation, while a winning run to start 2016 would also lay a strong foundation for salvaging the season with success in the Champions League and FA Cup.
“We have started gathering some points. It (the draw with United) was the third consecutive game we didn’t lose but that’s not enough,” Hiddink said.
“You see how it is, all the big teams are losing points as well.
We must come now in to a winning period of games, that’s important.”
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