Mateo Kovacic has called on his Chelsea team-mates to “wake-up” and cut out mistakes in their bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
Frank Lampard’s side suffered yet another blow in their pursuit of a Champions League place with a 2-0 home defeat against Manchester United on Monday night.
It was the Blues’ ninth league loss of the season and leaves them just one point above Tottenham in fourth ahead of this weekend’s clash with Jose Mourinho’s side.
Defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday would see Spurs leapfrog them and Kovacic wants a quick reaction to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“We need to improve a lot because we have tough games ahead of us and we have to be focused,” Kovacic told the club’s website .
“We have to train hard every day, to prepare our games better and try to avoid our mistakes because we are making too many mistakes in these kind of matches and you get punished.
“We have a good week ahead of us to prepare for Tottenham and to play a good match.
“We know this match means a lot for us because Tottenham are close behind us so we need to prepare ourselves quite a lot to win this game at home.
“We are still fourth so we are still in a good position, but we need to wake up because they are coming from behind.
“We need to play these next games like we were playing in the beginning of the season and change some things as well, obviously.”
Chelsea moved six points clear of their London rivals with a 2-0 win when they met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in December.
However, Lampard’s side have won just two of their eight Premier League games since that victory.
They are also now without wins in their last four league matches after goals from Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire gave United three points at Stamford Bridge.
There were suggestions that Maguire should have received a red card after kicking out a Michy Batshuayi prior to his header, while the hosts also saw goals from Antonio Rudiger and Olivier Giroud ruled out by VAR.
“We played well in the beginning but it’s always the same against United; we play good, we create chances, we don’t score and then they score from one opportunity,” Kovacic added.
“We don’t have the three points and that’s the most important thing. It was a good game from us, we played well, like we have for more or less the whole season, but we made some silly mistakes and we lost the points.
“We are still a very young team and we need to improve a lot. Now we will see if we are a great team because we have some tough matches to fight for the fourth position and we need to show ourselves.”