Carlo Ancelotti believes his Chelsea side must prepare for their remaining matches like they are cup finals if they are to end the season as Barclays Premier League champions.
The Blues thrashed bottom club Portsmouth 5-0 at Fratton Park last night thanks to braces from Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba, as well as Frank Lampard's injury-time effort.
The win signalled the end of a two-match winless run which saw Chelsea crash out of the Champions League and fall behind Manchester United in the title race.
The Blues now sit one point behind United, who they face a week on Saturday after taking on Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Ancelotti played down the importance of the win and admitted his side still have a lot of work to do in their remaining matches to win the league and the FA Cup, where they face Villa in the semi final next month.
"We needed to have this performance, we needed to win," said the Italian after last night's victory.
"I hope that bad period for us is finished. We'll only know on Saturday whether it has but tonight we played well, stayed focused for 90 minutes and put in a good performance. It was necessary to do this.
"We are involved in the Premier League and the FA Cup, so maybe eight or nine games until the end of the season, so we need to maintain this period and this spirit to play.
"We have to prepare for these remaining games like they are finals.
"It won't be easy, but it's important to stay involved in the Premier League."
Last night's match took a controversial twist just before half time when Pompey full back Ricardo Rocha had to be stretchered off with a cheekbone injury after clashing with Malouda.
Ancelotti believes the Frenchman did not intend to harm the former Spurs player though.
"I saw what the referee saw. It was a challenge with two heads," said Ancelotti.
"Malouda put his head to take the ball, and Rocha was unlucky.
"We're disappointed for him because he's injured, but Malouda did not mean to hurt him. It was an accident.
"The referee gave him a yellow card, which was right. Malouda put his head in, not his arm."
Drogba's clinical finishing saw him take his tally to 30 for the season, much to the delight of Ancelotti.
"It's a very important season for him. He's a fantastic striker who's had some very good play," said Ancelotti. "But I'm looking for what he can do in the next nine games. I hope he hasn't finished scoring."