Chelsea aim to lift gloom from FA Cup exit against Fulham
Agence France-Presse in London
Rafael Benitez will attempt to rally his Chelsea side in the wake of their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City as they prepare for a crucial Premier League visit to Fulham tonight.
The Wembley loss to Roberto Mancini's side means the Blues have missed out on seven of the eight trophies available to them this season and places more pressure on their efforts to qualify for the Champions League.
Benitez's team make the short trip across west London to Craven Cottage in fourth place, but a failure to make the most of their game in hand will pave the way for Tottenham and Everton to step up their challenge.
The game marks the latest fixture in a gruelling schedule for Chelsea and interim manager Benitez must quickly lift his side's spirits after the 2-1 defeat to City.
Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta admits Chelsea's habit of losing important games this season is becoming alarming.
The club have exited both domestic cup competitions at the semi-final stage and failed at the final hurdle in their efforts to win the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup.
And Azpilicueta said: "It's a little bit worrying. It's not normal for Chelsea but it's the reality.
"At the start against City we didn't play our game. We were defending, we didn't create chances. We shot once in the first half. It's true we need to play different.
"We wanted to win all the trophies at the start of the season. Now the only trophy that we can win is the Europa League."