REUTERS – Chelsea players must fight for their futures at the club under interim manager Guus Hiddink, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said after Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace stretched their unbeaten run to four games.
The Dutchman took over from the club’s most successful manager Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in December following nine losses in 16 league games.
Champions Chelsea, with 23 points from 20 matches, are languishing 14th in the table, closer to the relegation zone than the top four.
“We know we are responsible as well. We had team meetings where we said the same, we said ok the manager has gone but we are responsible as well,” Courtois told reporters.
“We need to pick up our level because we are not playing good enough for a Chelsea player. Now we are stepping up our game and that’s good.
“When results are not good the first one to get criticised is the manager, but it’s not only the manager — the players have to take responsibility as well. We were the ones not playing as well.
“We are still the same team that last year were the champions with Mourinho.”
Hiddink, in his second stint as interim manager of the club, guided Chelsea to the FA Cup during his first spell in 2009.
The Blues host third tier side Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup on Saturday, followed by home games against West Bromwich Albion and Everton in the league.
“First we have Scunthorpe and we have to be prepared. It will be a hard game, there are no easy matches in England,” Courtois said.
“You can also be eliminated like we were against Bradford last year, the FA Cup can go very fast. But, hopefully, we can win it and then the Champions League.”
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)