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Zola backs Chelsea to overcome difficult hurdles ahead

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
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Chelsea’s assistant boss Gianfranco Zola is optimistic the club can emerge victorious in their challenging run of games ahead.

The Blues responded to Man City’s 6-0 reverse with a win over Malmo in the Europa League on Thursday.

Sarri’s men are one point and two places behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United in the race for Champions League qualification.

And in the next run of fixtures, they play Manchester United, Malmo, City and Spurs in what could be the defining moment of their campaign.

“It’s very challenging – we know it’s a crucial moment,” Zola disclosed via BBC.

“I think the key will be to face each task by only thinking about that task.”

With the club clearly out of the title race, Chelsea’s more realistic chances of a trophy this season are in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.

In a repeat of the 2018 final, Chelsea host Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday before looking to build on a 2-1 first-leg lead against Malmo in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Sarri comes up against Manchester City again in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on 24 February before entertaining Tottenham three days later in the league.

Speaking about Chelsea’s tough run of fixtures, Zola said: “The first one is going to be United and we come into this game after a good performance in the Europa League.

“It’s a good challenge, it’s actually what we need to do right now.

“We know that we have to be consistent. We all know this. It’s important everyone knows the situation and is working on it, players, coaches and club.”