Marcos Alonso hopes Chelsea can capitalise on rivals dropping points with a third win of the festive period against Southampton on Wednesday.
The Blues responded to the December 22 loss to Leicester with wins at Watford and Crystal Palace, while Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal have all dropped points amid the congested run of fixtures.
Chelsea sit fourth, two points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, in their bid to regain their Champions League place.
“It’s very difficult. You don’t have time for training, you can only play and have a good rest to get ready for the next one,” Alonso told Chelsea TV.
“We’re seeing in the other fixtures it’s very difficult. Most of the teams are dropping points.
“It’s very important to get the three points.”
We're back in action tomorrow! 🙌— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 1, 2019
Southampton at Stamford Bridge up next! pic.twitter.com/tyS3MXuBrc
The Blues’ fixture congestion continues, with Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Nottingham Forest followed by next Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg clash with Tottenham at Wembley.
Chelsea’s task has been made more challenging by mounting injuries.
Striker Olivier Giroud suffered an ankle injury at Palace and could be replaced up front by Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge. The full extent of Giroud’s injury is still to be made public.
Eden Hazard has been deployed as a ‘false nine’ recently, but injuries to Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back), Pedro (hamstring) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (hamstring) may necessitate the Belgian playing his more customary left-wing role.
Cesc Fabregas (neck) also missed the Palace win, when his ingenuity might have helped break down the Eagles defence.
As it was, David Luiz stepped into midfield to deliver a lofted pass from which N’Golo Kante scored the decisive goal.
Kante’s movement was something manager Maurizio Sarri wants to see more of, from Ross Barkley and Loftus-Cheek, in particular.
“It’s about the movement of the midfielders,” Sarri said.
“It’s very important for us when we have to play against opponents very low, where the strikers and wingers find it hard to find space.
“We have to work on Loftus and Barkley on this. Loftus, especially, is a very great player with the ball, but he can improve a lot in his movement without the ball.”
Alonso added: “We have to be even more patient, move the ball from side to side to create spaces to attack them.”
Know more about Sport360 Application