Chelsea maintained a tight grip on fourth position with a 2-1 win over Brighton at the American Express Community Stadium.
Goals from Pedro and Eden Hazard sealed the victory for the Blues despite a Solly March strike just after the hour mark giving Maurizio Sarri's side food for thought.
With Chelsea currently in the Europa League and having to make the trip to Sweden for an away clash against Malmo in the last 32, Champions League football next season will be seen as a necessity.
This notion is clearly shared with Blues boss Sarri with the 59-year-old expressing his disappointment in Chelsea's lackadaisical showing against Brighton once they had gone 2-0 up.
"I think we could have won better because we played very well for 60 minutes,” he said
"We conceded a goal in a moment in which we were in full control of the match, and so, in my mind, it was clear in that moment that we have to suffer in the last five minutes with the long balls into the box."
Sarri also acknowledged the fact his side are not as physical as other Premier League sides and this was to their detriment on Saturday.
"We are not a physical team. With the substitutions, I tried to have a more physical impact for the last five minutes, but it was clear it was really very difficult in the last five minutes.
"We could have won better.
"I think that when we have the feeling of being in full control of the match, we are dangerous for ourselves. Suddenly the level of application and attention is lowered.
"The feeling when we are in confidence, when we are sure of being in control of the match, is dangerous for us."
Sarri has admitted that Eden Hazard may have to continue to play in his unnatural position of a false nine despite the Belgian being taken off with a slight injury.
“Eden is okay. It’s only a knock, only a knock. I spoke with the doctor five minutes ago and it’s not a big problem. Maybe one day to rest, two days at most.
“I think that, for us, he could be very important in this position. He’s very able to come out and play with his team-mates, very able to create spaces.
Now I think that, in that position, he has to improve in attacking the box.”