LONDON, January 4 – Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes the struggling Premier League champions can still salvage their season by qualifying for Europe and lifting a trophy.
Belgium international Courtois admitted the outlook was brighter now under interim manager Guus Hiddink, who earned his first win in his second spell as Chelsea boss following Sunday’s 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace.
Chelsea are unbeaten in three games since the Dutchman took charge following the sacking of Jose Mourinho last month, but the 14th-placed Blues remain nine points behind West Ham in sixth and 13 adrift of Tottenham in fourth.
However, Sunday’s performance suggested Chelsea, who host Scunthorpe in the FA Cup third round this weekend, could still be capable of a late surge towards the European places and Courtois insists all is not lost.
“Obviously if you win the FA Cup or the Champions League maybe it will still be a positive (season),” Courtois said.
“Success is a big word if you play until now not very well except the last three or four games.
“But still with the FA Cup or maybe the Champions League it could be a positive season if we end up in the top four or top six.
“We have to go step by step. Some teams are close together. If we beat West Brom and Everton (in the league) we could be maybe eighth or ninth in a few weeks.
“Everything can change very fast, we just need the results.”
Diego Costa and Oscar both scored at Selhurst Park at the weekend and showed signs of rediscovering their best form after struggling under Mourinho this term.
And Courtois said a slight change in mindset could be just what some of Chelsea’s under-performing stars need to help them turn things around.
“It’s something psychological and sometimes it changes with little changes. Maybe we needed a little change to pick up our level,” he said.
“In football it’s always like that. When results are not good the first thing they look at is the manager. But I don’t think it is only the manager, the players have to take responsibility as well.
“We were the ones who were not playing as well. With a new manager some things changed. Maybe with some players the mentality changed.”