Antonio Rudiger has told his Chelsea pals that a top-four finish is now theirs to lose on the back of their statement win at Liverpool.
Having been among the early-season pacesetters, the Blues dropped to ninth at the start of this year and a defeat by Leicester in mid-January sealed Frank Lampard’s fate.
Lampard was sacked on the back of the win against Luton in the FA Cup with Thomas Tuchel brought in.
And in the five-and-a-half weeks since, the club have gone 10 games unbeaten, eight in the league.
Thursday’s victory over the defending champions saw Chelsea move back into the Champions League qualification spots.
And tomorrow, they can lay down another marker against another top-four rival when Everton visit Stamford Bridge.
Rudiger knows they are in for another tough game against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but at least now he can see they are in charge of their own destiny.
He said: “Yes, Thursday’s win felt like a statement — it was a massive three points because it was also against a competitor for the top four, so it gives us more.
“Chelsea against Liverpool is always a classic game and to win at Anfield and take the three points home was a massive win.
“The top four can happen but it depends all on us.
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“It’s game by game and the next game is Everton, then the next game and the next game…
“It’s like this, but it is all in our hands.
“We just have to look forward.
“We have good momentum, which is all we have to think about.”
Everton moved above Chelsea for a couple of hours on Thursday thanks to their win against West Brom and Rudiger knows the challenge his side will face against Richarlison, James Rodriguez and Co tomorrow and in the coming weeks.
He added: “We have to think only about getting three points against Everton because it’s a tough game and they are also a competitor for the top four.
“I will expect exactly the same sort of intensive game that we had against Liverpool because Everton is also a good team.
“They are on a good run at the moment and are in good form.
“We are, too. It will be an exciting game and we are up for it.”
Tuchel, understandably, was ‘super-happy’ with the result and performance against Liverpool.
And what is clear is that Chelsea are responding very well to the German’s management and not just going through a new manager bounce.
“At the end of the day it’s all details, details,” Rudiger said of Tuchel’s ability to get his message across to his players so quickly.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t do what he tells you, you will find yourself on the outside.
“It’s like this.
“He has told us just always to play our football.
“Like we are at the moment, to keep pressing high.
“He is making us feel that we should always stay calm, never worry.
“He advises us exactly what to do and this is what we are doing.”
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