The Blues have slipped to 10 points off the pace of league leaders Liverpool, leaving their best chance of silverware to come from knockout football
Chelsea assistant coach Carlo Cudicini has stressed that winning the Carabao Cup should be a priority for manager Maurizio Sarri and that such success would help push the club onto a greater 2019.
The Blues face London rivals Tottenham in the first leg of the semi-finals at Wembley on Tuesday, looking to secure their first silverware under the Italian.
Former Napoli boss Sarri has seen his side’s near-flawless domestic start slip over the winter months, with a 10-point gap between Chelsea and Premier League leaders Liverpool likely ruling them out of the title race.
As such, the Carabao Cup arguably presents a prime opportunity for the 59-year-old to furnish his trophy cabinet for the first time since taking charge in west London.
Cudicini, a former Chelsea favourite who won the trophy twice when goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge, feels that a triumph should they reach the final – where either Manchester City or Burton Albion will await – would be a springboard to potentially greater things this campaign.
“It’s always important to win the first trophy of the season,” he told the club’s official website . “You have the chance to win it in February and it can help to then have an even better end of the season.
“As a club, we consider all the trophies to be important and we have the chance to reach the final and we obviously want to do well.”
Regarding how Sarri has settled into life in London following his move from his homeland, the 45-year-old added: “It’s always difficult for managers to come and change and be part of the Premier League.
“‘This division is one of a kind with so many games and the challenge of the competition is so high.
“I had the luck to work with Antonio Conte before and now with Maurizio. It’s a big difference from any other country, so it takes a bit of time to understand how it works and Maurizio is doing that.
“Obviously, with Gianfranco [Zola] next to him it’s a big help – everyone in the staff that has had a chance to have a bit of experience in this league is trying to do his best to make his life a bit easier if we can.
“I think the team is doing well and it can only improve. We are on the right path.”
Chelsea lost their first-choice goalkeeper in the shape of Thibaut Courtois ahead of the season to Real Madrid but replaced him with Athletic Club shot-stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Regarding the 24-year-old, Cudicini remained glowing in his praise for the Spaniard, stating: “It’s kind of the same thing that I just said for Maurizio.
“Especially for a goalkeeper, the Premier League is a different way. I remember when I first joined here and it was a big difference.
“The physicality, the speed of the game – it’s a totally different way of playing your game – and I think he has adapted very well.”