Petr Cech explains reason for Chelsea’s woeful Premier League title defence

admits he has been very ‘surprised’ by Chelsea’s underwhelming title defence in the .

In his first season in England, won 30 of Chelsea’s 38 games to guide the Blues to the title.

It has been a very different story this term, however, with Chelsea already 25 points adrift of impressive league leaders Manchester City.

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Losing three of their last five league games, Chelsea are in danger of missing out on a top four place altogether as Tottenham and Liverpool pull ahead of them.

Arsenal goalkeeper Cech, who won four Premier League titles with Chelsea, believes his former club have suffered a crisis of confidence.

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Asked to explain Chelsea’s dip following the heroics of last season, he said: ‘It’s very hard to tell because the team stayed more or less together, obviously the manager stayed there and had the chance.

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‘When you win the league in your first season it’s the best possible start because people trust you, you make a name for yourself.

‘It’s sometimes very surprising when the season goes completely wrong.

‘It might just be that things go different and you try too hard, then once you get in a bad run it can affect the confidence in the team and it becomes difficult.’

With their domestic aspirations fading, Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday as they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Barcelona.

Former star Gianfranco Zola believes the Blues showed their potential against Barca but admits Conte’s side are struggling for goals.

‘I don’t think Chelsea are far off,’ he told Sport ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City.

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‘Yes they are far from the league leaders and they have been knocked out of the Champions League, but they showed they are alive with the performance against Barcelona.

‘One thing I would say is they cannot score as frequently as they could last season, and they are paying the toll for this.’

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