The new interim boss of Stamford Bridge, Guus Hiddink has warned Chelsea stars their futures depend on their own performance in upcoming fixtures following a second draw since appointed as Blues manager.
The depleted squad climbed up to 14th place with a hard-fought goalless draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but still almost 15 points behind the top four.
The rest of the season is now a huge challenge in rescuing some sort of semblance of credibility, after their pathetic title defence in Premier League history.
But Guus Hiddink made it clear the Chelsea players are now playing for their own Stamford Bridge future as the domestic campaign reached the middle stage.
“When you play at the big clubs, you always have to show your best and every day you have to work for your contract,” Hiddink said.
“I want to look at the team, at the performance, at the attitude, then I make my conclusions, so I cannot talk about the past.
“But after a lousy half year, everyone is convinced they couldn’t continue on the same path and that’s what they’ve shown in the last three games.
“The fans recognise the team is coping with the situation and the team has to make the initiative to win them back.
“Of course I’m worried, but I would have been more worried if there was a lack of confidence or a lack of ambition.”
These are certainly strange times at Chelsea. With Jose Mourinho gone and last season’s dream run also a distant future now, Chelsea somehow find themselves in an unfamiliar territory.
Hobbling around near the bottom of the league table is not a favourable zone they are used to sitting, yet this is the reality Guus Hiddink has stepped into and one the flop players must confront to stay alive.
With their three strikers absent, a trip to Old Trafford was always going to be one fixture where Chelsea chose to remain contained, even accounting for Manchester United’s recent woes.
Chelsea however badly missed the presence of suspended Diego Costa in the attacking line despite his irritant, goalscoring prowess.
They needed him when a counter attack in the second half sent Nemanja Matic through on David de Gea one-on-one only to see his shot find supporters who were 45 rows behind the Spaniard’s goalpost.
As Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy both out with injury, the responsibility to score was left to wide man Eden Hazard, a role he has enjoyed earlier but one to which he still remains ill-suited.
Chelsea’s travelling fans apparently chanted their former manager’s name throughout the game, and it will take some time for the supporters to get over the loss of energetic Special One for the second time.