Carlo Ancelotti has admitted there was a problem with the atmosphere at Chelsea during their worst run in the Barclays Premier League for almost 15 years.
And the Blues boss believes last week's victory over Manchester United could be what finally resurrects his side's stuttering season.
"When you win against United, it means you're good enough to play against stronger teams. So this result obviously improves your confidence," said Ancelotti.
The Italian has suggested he deliberately played down the effect Chelsea's alarming pre-Christmas slump had on his players, probably to avoid shattering their fragile confidence.
But in the wake of Tuesday night's comeback against United, the Italian felt it was time to acknowledge just how low spirits had sunk at Stamford Bridge.
"A lot of times in the past, I've said the atmosphere is good," he said. "Sometimes it wasn't really good because the players had more difficulties to train, with less confidence. Now the confidence has improved with the results.
"The atmosphere is really good. The players are training well with confidence and ability, so I have confidence in the future."
However, Chelsea have endured more than one false dawn this season, including December's victory over Bolton and January's hat-trick of Barclays Premier League victories, which were followed by another demoralising defeat to Liverpool.
"Everyone had confidence going into that Liverpool game, but we lost it and the confidence went down," said Ancelotti, who believes failure to beat United might have proven fatal.
"If we were not able to win this game, it could have been a problem in the future."
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