LONDON, February 13 – Frank Lampard admits new boss Guus Hiddink must act quickly to stop losing Chelsea losing their place among Europe's elite.
Blues midfielder Lampard knows Aston Villa are playing well enough to sustain their place in the top four, while fifth-placed Arsenal are still capable of overhauling the five-point gap between the teams.
That leaves Hiddink, who met his players for the first time at the club’s training ground on Thursday, with a fight on his hands to ensure the west London club are playing Champions League football next season.
"Of course it is under threat because that is the way football is," Lampard said. "If we drop enough points it will be under threat because there are teams behind us trying to push into our position so you should never be over-confident to say that position is not under threat."
Chelsea captain John Terry is more concerned with the team’s fading prospects as they trail seven points behind leaders Manchester United having played a game more than the leaders.
Hiddink, who is in charge until the end of the season after replacing sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari, is well aware of the team’s perilous position, according to Terry.
"He (Hiddink) realises the situation we’re in, both him and the players have a very big job to do," Terry said. "But if we don’t do it now we’re going to rule ourselves out of the title race.
"We are behind Manchester United and they have a game in hand. In the Champions League we have Juventus and they are going very well in the Italian League."
Terry and Lampard have both thrown their support behind Hiddink, who will see the team in action for the first time in Saturday’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Watford.
Hiddink will split his time between Chelsea and his current job as Russia boss, and Terry said: "I like the fact that Guus Hiddink has stayed loyal to the Russia team.
"We have six months to turn things around and if we do he will probably get offered the full-time job. It is down to us to put in the performances and get results for him and then hopefully something can be done in the close season."