Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has urged his squad to play with “joy” as they continue to try and rediscover last season’s form.
The Blues were a solid unit last term under Jose Mourinho as they eased to the title ahead of nearest challengers Manchester City, who ended up eight points adrift.
However, the 2015-16 campaign has proven much tougher for the west London outfit and they sacked Portuguese boss Mourinho in December after he lost nine of their opening 16 fixtures.
Hiddink was appointed as his successor until the end of the campaign and has helped to steady the ship at Stamford Bridge.
The Dutchman suffered his first defeat during his second stint in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first-leg tie at Paris Saint-Germain.
However, the 69-year-old has never lost an FA Cup match in charge of the Blues and is currently preparing his side for a fifth-round tie against Manchester City, who are 7.00 to win the Premier League, on Sunday.
He has urged his squad to play with freedom in the hope that they can continue improving as they look to end the campaign as strongly as possible.
Hiddink said: “Deep down you must play with joy.
“If you play with joy then the best comes out of a player. Joy is not always laughing. It is enjoying being a professional, enjoying training and doing your job, which is sometimes tough.”