Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has conceded that the form his side have exhibited against the big teams ‘has not been good enough’.
The Blues have lost to Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool this season, with their second defeat to the latter coming in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.
Villas-Boas has been criticised recently for Chelsea’s slump in form and the team’s next few games could prove vital in their chances of winning a trophy come the end of this season.
Chelsea travel to Newcastle on Saturday to face Alan Pardew’s side, who have lost only one of their past eight games, before facing Valencia in a crucial Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge.
“Our form against the top teams has not been good enough. Valencia (is) life and death for both clubs,” Villas-Boas said.
“I don’t think confidence is at crisis point, we just have to pull ourselves together. We can only work hard and believe we can revert the situation.”
“It’s only a crisis at the end of a season when you look at how many trophies you have won.”
Villas-Boas had nothing but praise for his managerial counterpart Pardew following the Magpies’ impressive start to the season, with the Tyneside outfit sitting fourth on the table.
“Pardew has brought serenity to Newcastle. In the past couple of years they’ve been in turmoil with managers and relegation and (being) sold to another owner,’ he said.
“But now there is empathy with the city and the club. They play good football – the way teams want to play.”
“It’s an excellent challenge for us. We have done some good focused performances away from home – there are less relaxations, sometimes extra tension makes you more concentrated. (We have) shown more quality, (more) focus (and) attention away from home.”
“This (match) is away against a team which is surprising everybody and which I think will continue to surprise.”
“We’re not inhibited at Stamford Bridge but we might perform better away because the players (are) more concentrated. There is not a problem with Stamford Bridge, but a problem with the results.”
Pardew, meanwhile, backed Villas-Boas to get Chelsea out of their slump, reminding fans that the side have endured tough times before and managed to recover.
“Chelsea are a side filled with icons of the Premier League, fantastic players, and they will come here and put their reputations on the line,” he said.
“They are having a tough spell, but they have had them before and have been through these periods.”
“The new manager is trying to make changes and that is always difficult in an established group, like they are.”
“I think they will get it right and I think he will get it right, but I hope that doesn’t happen against us because we want to win the game.”