London: Chelsea head coach Jose Mourinho on Friday challenged his players to face up to their problems, with their poor start to the English Premier League (EPL) season leaving every game as a "must-win".
Chelsea entertain Aston Villa at the Stamford Bridge stadium on Saturday. The defending champions are sitting 16th in the table having won just two of their opening eight league games.
They desperately need to turn their form around quickly, with no team having recovered to finish in the top four from this position in EPL history.
"Every game is a must win game and when we don't win it's always a frustration," Mourinho was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk.
"But we cannot run away from the reality of the situation. We need to win matches for us, for the Chelsea supporters," the former Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid coach added.
Reports on Thursday claimed that some members of Mourinho's first-team squad were referring to the manager by a "derogatory one-word nickname" but the Portuguese rejected those as false.
Mourinho claimed after Chelsea's defeat against Southampton earlier this month that while it would be difficult for his side to retain the title, he was confident of a top-four finish, a stance he reiterated ahead of Villa's visit.
"I don't know how to stop unfair stories but we are not worried. We are not going to be relegated -- in a couple of months we will be in a position we want to be in," the 52-year-old said.