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Premier League

Chelsea slump must not become crisis warns Petr Cech


Petr Cech has insisted it is too early to panic over Chelsea's dramatic loss of form but admitted they cannot afford their mini-slump to become another full-blown crisis.

The Blues' hopes of putting their week from hell behind them were dashed last night when they threw away a half-time lead in their 1-1 Champions League draw at Genk.

The result fuelled fears of a repeat of the mid-season malaise which ultimately cost the club their Barclays Premier League title last term.

Chelsea have won just one of their last four games in all competitions - and that victory required extra-time - throwing Champions League Group E wide open with two matches to play and leaving them nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Goalkeeper Cech said: "You can't give good teams too much of an advantage.

"It's one thing we don't want to do.

"The sooner we start cutting down their advantage, the better it will be for us and we will put them under more pressure."

He added: "So far, City have been doing very well and it's why they are where they are.

"But there is a long way to go - we still have to play them twice.

"We can't forget that, last year, we had a brilliant start, then a difficult period but had a brilliant finish and could have won the title.

"There is a long way to go - anything can happen - especially in the Premier League.

"Obviously, our opponents have an advantage at the moment, but we have to keep working, get the wins and see what's going to happen."

Chelsea have a chance to apply some pressure to City when they travel to Blackburn on Saturday, with their opponents' match at QPR not kicking-off until later that afternoon.

Cech said: "Blackburn could be a real turning point for us because it is a difficult place to go all the time.

"We had two results we didn't wish for, which was the loss against Arsenal and the draw to Genk.

"But the best way to forget about this is to win games.

"We can't afford to drop many points in the Premier League because we are already behind."

As well as needing City to drop far more than the two points they have surrendered in the Premier League this season, Chelsea must also stop conceding the kind of goals which are beginning to cost them dear.

A better team would have punished them more than once last night as their lack of defensive discipline out wide and in behind gifted Genk a second-half equaliser.

Cech, who has kept just four clean sheets all season, said: "We are making too many mistakes in terms of team defending and individually.

"There is a point where if you give good opportunities to your opponents, you can get them scoring goals.

"I have to say we have been unlucky, too, on many occasions, but that's the way it is and we have to fight against it."

He added: "We are going through a period where, even though we are playing well, have great possession and are creating chances, it's not happening for us and it is difficult to accept.

"Eight days ago, everything was fine. We had a really unlucky game against QPR - we could have won the game with nine men.

"We got a great result away at Everton and nobody would believe that, eight days later, we would say there is something wrong.

"I don't think there is. It is just a period of the year which can happen and as soon as we get over it, it will be better."