Mateo Kovacic admits that Chelsea need to “improve a lot” as they continue to make life difficult for themselves in the final third of the field.
The Blues have been struggling to see games out, or break down stubborn opposition, with Frank Lampard looking to bring in attacking reinforcements before Friday’s transfer deadline as a result.
A 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round win over Hull City offered another example of how a lack of cutting edge is threatening to undermine Chelsea’s efforts.
They should have been out of sight at the KCOM Stadium, as they should have been in a recent 1-0 Premier League defeat to Newcastle, and Kovacic has added his voice to those calling for a collective raising of standards.
The Croatia international midfielder told the Blues’ official website on the back of a battling victory over the Tigers: “It was a tough game, as we knew that it would be, but we need to score in the first half two more goals.
“That’s our problem in this moment but obviously we’re happy to go through.
“It was tough because we didn’t score on time - we had some chances and we didn’t use them.
“In training, we are working on it but we are still a young team, a new team, and we need to improve a lot.
“We need to take our chances, which in this moment we are not doing great, but we have time to improve and I am sure we will do.”
Kovacic contributed towards Chelsea being left hanging on at Hull.
The 25-year-old saw a late free-kick from Kamil Grosicki flick off him and into the back of the net, just as Lampard’s men were looking to ease their way over the line.
He concedes that he made a “mistake”, with the Blues’ two-goal advantage cut in half with 12 minutes remaining.
Chelsea eventually saw things out, and may now have to go through Liverpool in round five, but Kovacic believes they can build momentum and go all the way in England’s oldest cup competition.
He added: “They scored a goal from a free-kick, which was my mistake.
“I did a little bit of a strange jump and the ball touched me. Sometimes that can happen but the most important thing is we got the win and we are through.
“The FA Cup is a great competition and we want to win it.”