Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti admits his side are in the midst of their toughest period since he took charge in the summer.
The Italian has watched his side stutter with defeat by Inter Milan in the Champions League followed by a 1-1 draw with Blackburn at Ewood Park. But Chelsea have the chance to cut Manchester United's lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to just a point by beating Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
"It's the most difficult moment of the season, this is true," said Ancelotti.
"It's more difficult now and we shouldn't be afraid to admit that. We're working hard to try and close this moment with a victory.
"Every team has had a difficult moment in the season. Now is a very important moment and we have to end it immediately.
"The start of this moment was the defeat to Manchester City and during this period we had a lot of injuries.
"But we have to look forward. I'm sure that, with our first victory, we'll come back to playing well."
Ancelotti remains convinced he will see out the remainder of his three-year contract even if he fails to bring any silverware to Stamford Bridge this season.
Chelsea have a history of replacing managers who don't bring success to the club but Ancelotti insists all that is in the past.
"I am here to change the history of this club," he added. "I am an optimistic man. I have a very good relationship with the club and with Roman (Abramovich). My position is not in discussion. I think the owner now is thinking what I think - to win the Premier League and to win the FA Cup."
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