Florent Malouda has called for Chelsea's squad to "stick together" under Antonio Conte to avoid a repeat of last season's disappointing 10th-place finish.
Conte has arrived to turn around a team that recorded the worst ever Premier League title defence last season, but he hasn't had it all his own way with two defeats and a draw in his last five games.
Malouda believes that Chelsea, who are three points off fourth and five points behind the pace-setters Manchester City, have a collective responsibility to help Conte turn their fortunes around.
"They just have to stick together," Malouda told Goal. "There were tough times during my time as well, but once everybody understood that the club comes first, the team improved.
"There will be pressure to perform at big clubs. Most of the time the problem is psychological as it is all a matter of confidence. The coach can help, but every player must look within himself.”
Florent Malouda made 149 appearances for Chelsea and won the Premier League, three FA Cups and a Champions League medal in his time in west London.
The 36-year-old, who now plays for Indian club Delhi Dynamos, also noted that criticism of the defending has been unfair and oversimplistic, echoing Conte's sentiment that the whole team must accept the blame for conceding goals.
“People keep focusing on Chelsea’s defence," He added. "What they forget that they were the champions with the same team two years ago. In top teams, there are always fingers being pointed at one specific area.
"During my time at Chelsea as a winger, I was involved in the defence as much as the central defender. For me, as a former player, it is difficult to see Chelsea struggle.”