Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has made it clear that the Blues have virtually no chance of finishing in the top four on the Premier League standings this season.
Chelsea extended their unbeaten streak to 12 games following a 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday and are currently in 10th place on the points table.
Even though they trail fourth place Manchester City by 10 points, Hiddink reiterated that it is impossible for the Blues to end their season in the top four and secure a Champions League spot for next season.
“[The top four] is almost impossible, especially when other teams are also knocking on that door,” Hiddink told reporters. “On the other hand, we [have] come from one point off the relegation zone in December, and we got safe in a relatively short space of time.
“Going to the middle of the table, by Chelsea’s normal standards, is not enough.”
Meanwhile, Hiddink lashed out at referee Mark Clattenburg for failing to award Chelsea a penalty when Oscar was brought down by Stoke City defender Marc Muniesa.
“We conceded the late goal, that’s always frustrating. We started the first half sloppily and after 15, 20 minutes we got more energetic,” he added. “We scored a beautiful goal through Traore, and in the second half I think there was one key moment – that the penalty was not awarded on Oscar.
“If you see it, it was a clear, clear, clear penalty. I don’t say that often, but it would have been given as a free-kick if it was outside the box.
“I think it was a key moment, but we must not say that Stoke were not pushing. At the end I think it was a fair result.”
However, Hiddink was highly impressed with Bertrand Traore’s performance as he put Chelsea in the lead in the 39th minute. Hiddink also believes that the 20-year-old can become a huge asset for the Blues in the future.
“You can see he has quality. Young players have to try and get control and dominate their nerves, which you saw in the beginning, but he showed with the goal he has the capacity to do a lot,” he said. “We have some strikers that compete in a healthy way among themselves. If they show what they can do in training then it will be rewarded.”