Petr Cech has admitted Chelsea must learn from the mistakes of this season after they crashed out of the Champions League at Manchester United to leave them staring at a trophyless campaign.
The Blues lost their quarter-final 3-1 on aggregate following a 2-1 second-leg defeat at Old Trafford, meaning they are all but certain to finish a season without silverware for only the third time since Roman Abramovich bought the club.
Goalkeeper Cech wrote off Chelsea's Barclays Premier League title hopes - they are 11 points behind United - and urged them to salvage some pride by finishing runners-up, saying: "This is the year to learn from and to pick ourselves up and finish the season strongly, because there is still plenty to play for."
He added: "We want to finish as high as possible in the league. We have to pick ourselves up and get ready for next season. If we win most of the games, we can finish second."
Even finishing runners-up in the league would represent Chelsea's worst season under Abramovich following earlier-than-expected exits from every cup competition.
The Russian sacked the other managers who failed to deliver a trophy, meaning Carlo Ancelotti could be forgiven for fearing for his own position.
There is no shortage of team spirit under the Italian, though, according to Cech, who pointed to the way the Blues battled back to equalise last night after Ramires was sent off.
"You could see the team is together," he said. "If you are not together and you go down to 10 men losing 1-0, the team falls apart, but we didn't do that."
Chelsea were level for less than half a minute last night before United scored again and Cech admitted the visitors were made to pay for pushing too hard for a second goal.
"It was a pretty equal game and, down to 10 men, we managed to get our goal," he said. "I believed that they would be under a lot of pressure, but we were thinking too much about scoring the second goal and we conceded straight away after we scored, which was the decisive moment of the game."
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