Petr Cech has warned of a "lost" year at Chelsea if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Sunday's goalless draw against Tottenham was the most damaging result yet in the Blues' bid to play in Europe's elite club competition for the 10th successive season.
Goalkeeper Cech, who has starred in the Champions League for eight years of Chelsea's nine-year unbroken run since Roman Abramovich's takeover, admitted their entire season would have been a waste if they do not finish in the top four.
He said: "It is a year lost in the progression of the club.
"For a big club, you can accept that the team does not win the league because it is in transition.
"But you can't afford to slip out of the Champions League spots, because the big teams are about the Champions League."
However, Cech was confident Chelsea would not suffer the same fate as Liverpool were they to finish outside the top four.
The Reds have been nowhere near getting back in the Champions League since their last a...