Striker Didier Drogba admits it would be a "disaster" if Chelsea fail to qualify for the Champions League.
The Blues face the prospect on missing out on Europe's top competition for the first time since Drogba joined the club in 2004.
They currently sit fifth, just outside the qualification places, following a difficult first campaign for boss Andre Villas-Boas so far.
"If we don't make the top four it would be a disaster," Drogba, who is due to return from African Nations Cup duty this weekend, told various papers.
"Every time we've started a season since I've been with Chelsea we never even finished as low as fourth.
"It is the hardest season I've known since I've been here."