CHELSEA can still finish in the Premier League’s top four, says interim manager Guus Hiddink after Sunday’s 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.
The Blues have not lost in four matches but are 13 points behind Tottenham, who occupy the fourth Champions League spot with 18 league games left.
“It’s difficult because this league has become so strong; everyone can win from everyone,” said Hiddink, 69.
“It’s very difficult to get there. It’s possible but there’s a long way to go.”
The defending champions’ four-match unbeaten run is their longest of the season and moved them up to 14th, six points clear of relegation.
Hiddink, who succeeded the sacked Jose Mourinho in December, conceded Chelsea “desperately needed” the victory, which came courtesy of goals from Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa.
“We’ve to get back to thinking why we were champions,” added the former Netherlands, Turkey and Russia coach.
Costa’s goal – his third in two games – sealed an impressive individual display after managing just one in 12 previous matches.
Hiddink said he is trying to give the striker some focus on the pitch so he does not “waste” energy “where he shouldn’t be”.
Chelsea’s improvement in form since Mourinho’s departure has led to some criticism as to why the Blues could not produce such performances under their former manager.
Captain John Terry admits the players “let everybody down” following the club’s worst start to a season since 1978.
“It’s unfortunate what’s happened,” said the 35-year-old defender. “We’re where we’re, and slowly climbing the Premier League table.”
But Terry feels Hiddink, who also took interim charge of the club in 2009, has “picked things up” since taking over.
“That was the Chelsea of last year,” he said after Sunday’s display. “Overall, as well as the goals, it was different class.” — BBC Sport