Hughes: Blues can't retain title

BY foxsports • February 12, 2011

The Blues travel to Craven Cottage for Monday night's west London derby engaged in a battle with Tottenham for fourth place in the Premier League. Hughes claims they have little hope of reeling in leaders Manchester United and must concentrate on securing their entry into Europe's top competition. "It's hard to see how they Chelsea win the title. They've lost seven matches at this point," he said. "They're in a very difficult position and historically losing no more than six games has been the benchmark. "If you keep your number of defeats below six then you have a chance of winning the title. "Chelsea won't want to lose any more games between now and the end of the season. "Even if they don't lose again, I think it will be beyond them to put together a run that will overcome the teams above them. "The fact that maybe they're talking in terms of missing out on the title won't change their focus in the Premier League. "They still need to get into the Champions League which is a huge prize for them every year. "The club's situation is based on playing Champions League football every year." The thriftiness that characterised Chelsea's transfer dealings in recent years was abandoned in spectacular fashion in January when they spent £70million on deadline day. Hughes believes the acquisition of Fernando Torres and David Luiz was completed on the realisation that failure to qualify for the Champions League would proved costly. "Their intention was to make sure they get into the Champions League," he said. "They felt that if they invest in January that would give them an advantage. "You're never certain it will happen but given their position and the players they've bought, they have a really good chance of getting that Champions League spot. "If you do the sums then £70million becomes £30million because they're guaranteed £40million if they get into the Champions League. "It's all about sums and whether it works on a budget level. "It's about weighing up where they see themselves, what they're ambition is and whether the outlay is justified. "We won't know until the end of the season but I'm sure they're very happy with the players they're got." Chelsea spent £50million on Torres and Hughes understands why the former Liverpool striker commanded such a high fee. "Torres is worth what people are prepared to pay for him, but it's obviously a huge amount of money," he said. "In terms of what's available, when a top player comes onto the market there will always be a premium added. "But Torres has been one of the Premier League's top players ever since he's come here. "He's up there with the best of them and with that type of player you must pay a significant amount of money. "That's what Chelsea have done and it has sent a real notice of intent over where they expect to be." Dickson Etuhu has failed to recover from his hamstring injury so Steve Sidwell will continue to deputise in Fulham's midfield.

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