Ruben Loftus-Cheek says the individual mistakes that have cost Chelsea victories and all-important Premier League points in recent weeks.
They are not up to the standard expected at the club, and he believes greater on-pitch concentration is needed if the Blues are to secure their place in the Premier League top four.
Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Everton yesterday was their third in the last six top-flight fixtures.
It’s a run that has enabled London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to close the gap to Thomas Tuchel’s side in the chase to qualify for the Champions League next season.
The Blues remain in control of their destiny – six points are all that is required from their remaining four matches to secure at least a fourth-place finish in the Premier League.
With costly mistakes mounting and subpar performances becoming more frequent, it will not be a stroll to the finish.
It’s why Loftus-Cheek, who was handed his 50th Chelsea start at Goodison Park against Everton and was one of the better performers in Tuchel’s side, says it is imperative the Blues rediscover the level of concentration required to keep clean sheets and get them over the line in the top-four race.
“We’ve made a few mistakes over the past few matches and haven’t kept clean sheets from individual errors. That is how football is, if you keep shooting yourselves in the foot it will be difficult to get out of it,” Loftus-Cheek told Chelsea’s in-house media after the defeat at Goodison Park.
“It’s up to us as individuals to tune in and sharpen up as a team together. Getting everyone ready for the game, these are basics in football. If you don’t have these basics, you will struggle like we have in the last four games. This is not Chelsea standard at all. Our concentration levels were not good enough.”
The mistakes that have been made in the Chelsea backline in recent weeks have been – rather frustratingly – shared out.
Against Real Madrid in the Champions League, it was an error from Edouard Mendy that allowed Karim Benzema to score.
When Arsenal visited Stamford Bridge in the top flight, Andreas Christensen gifted Eddie Nketiah an opportunity that he took with aplomb.
It was the turn of Cesar Azpilicueta against Everton.
Chelsea’s club captain was caught in possession by Richarlison and the Brazilian forward, after a neat touch from Demarai Gray, was able to slot the ball beyond Mendy.
It proved enough for the Toffees, now managed by Blues legend Frank Lampard, to claim a huge three points in their battle to avoid relegation.
“It can happen to anyone,” Loftus-Cheek said when asked about Azpilicueta’s mistake.