Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists his side need to win against Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday or they will face the prospect of failing to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League for the second successive season.
The Blues lost their opening Group E game at home to Basel – a result Mourinho says leaves them with little room for further mistakes.
“We have our problems and some are not easy to resolve. We had a difficult start and had to play at the home of two title contenders but, step by step, we are there,” he said.
“Tuesday is a different story. Tuesday is a game we cannot lose. Even a draw is not a good result for us.
“We need 12 points to be out of any danger, so if we lose there we still have four games to play for 12 points but we would have to win all of those. We cannot put ourselves under so much pressure.
“If we go there and don’t win it will depend on the other opponents, so it’s a match we will have to try to win.
“The reality is that when you lose your first match at home there are conditions to make another mistake.
“If you then make a second mistake you are still alive, but only just.”
Fans’ favourite Juan Mata is set to start the game in Romania, having impressed in his last two appearances.
The Spanish playmaker, who has struggled to hold down a first-team place since Mourinho’s return to Chelsea, did well in last week’s Capital One Cup game against Swindon and as a second-half substitute at Tottenham on Saturday.
“Mata has proved his case to be in the team,” Mourinho said.
“He has behaved in the right way to say ‘I want to play’. The effort he made against Swindon and the way he changed the team in the second half [against Tottenham] – this is good.
“Because of that I am a very happy manager to say that he plays against Steaua.”