Coach Carlo Ancelotti has labelled Chelsea's home clash with Everton today as one of the most important of the season as the Blues seek to return to winning ways.
Chelsea have gone three games without a win in the Barclays Premier League but are boosted by the return of captain John Terry after injury. The London outfit have scored just two goals in their last five league outings and Ancelotti has told his players they must regain their focus against the Toffees.
“It could be very important,” said Ancelotti. “I put on my players pressure for this game. This is normal. I want to see everything we can do — character, personality, good play. I think it is one of the most important games for us this season.
“We lost our position at the top of the table, we didn't score a lot of goals. Everything was wrong. But, now, we want to close this period. We have to close this period with a victory. That's the target.
“It's not so important to be top now. We have to be there at the end of the season. We must focus on this game.
“It's very important that we move on quickly. I've told the players that before training. I said we had to stay focused and play better. To try everything to win.”
Chelsea also have crucial games against Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United later this month and Ancelotti admits it could be a defining period for the team. “The month could define our season if we're not able to be competitive in this period. But I think that, in this period, we will be able to do our best.”
The return of Terry after three months on the sidelines with a sciatic nerve problem is the biggest boost for the Italian.
Terry will replace Brazilian defender Alex, who has undergone knee surgery and will be out for up to eight weeks. The England international defender is training without pain and is ready to play.
“He trained well this week,” said Ancelotti. “He didn't have a problem and shows good condition. He will start. Alex had surgery this week.
“He had his knee cleaned, and now needs six to eight weeks to recover. The other players are fit and in good condition.”