Antonio Conte played down the suggestion that Chelsea could struggle to keep their best players or attract elite talent if they fail to finish in the Premier League's top four this season.
"Don't forget that two years ago, Chelsea finished 10th with many players of this season, and they chose to continue to play for this club", he said.
'I think for us it is not just a normal game also.
Conte's defence of the Premier League title came unstuck in the early months of the campaign and after knockout blows in the League Cup and Champions League, the Blues' only hopes of silverware this season rest exclusively with the FA Cup.More news: Eight left in Europa League battle
Chelsea's recent inconsistent form in the Premier League has resulted in the champions falling into fifth place in the standings, four points off fourth-placed Liverpool.
"We must be ready to share the responsibility with the club, the players and with me and my staff".
Conte also insisted that Chelsea finishing below the top four this season would be a collective failure, not an individual one.
Asked if failing to qualify for the Champions League for the second time in three seasons would make Chelsea less attractive in the market, Conte - preparing for Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City - told reporters: "I don't know if it's a problem to attract a great player or not". Conte was quoted to have said by Telegraph UK.
"To try to reach the semi-final in the FA Cup it won't be easy". It is a good challenge, an exciting challenge to play a big team in our stadium in front of our fans'. "And in the squad there are many good players with good qualities - talented players". Well, we wouldn't be Chelsea Football Club if we had learnt from our past mistakes and thus I have my doubts whether this season's shortcomings would lead to us getting off as lightly as we did back then.