Antonio Conte admitted Chelsea’s qualification for next season’s Champions League looks far from certain following their dire 3-0 home defeat against Bournemouth.
Chelsea are fourth, just two points clear of rivals Tottenham, who beat Manchester United 2-0 at Wembley.
“We must be worried. It is normal,” said Blues boss Conte.
“It won’t be easy for this season and we have to fight. I am ready – and I think the players are starting to understand that this season we have to struggle for a position in the Champions League.
“If they don’t, then our table could be worse. I have to be realistic.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea are assessing the extent of a hamstring injury suffered by Andreas Christensen, who limped off during the first half at Stamford Bridge.
“It is a hamstring problem but we don’t know yet the seriousness. It will be a few days to find out,” Conte said.
Conte refused to put Chelsea’s second-half capitulation down to the loss of Christensen, who has been excellent for the Blues this season.
Former Chelsea man Nathan Ake scored after goals from Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas had put the Cherries in control.
“We have played other games without Christensen and Gary Cahill and have won games. It is not right to find an alibi,” Conte said.