Chelsea star Marcos Alonso has admitted that he felt his side were always going to struggle after their Premier League heroics last season.

“In England, after winning the Premier League, it is normal to have a difficult year,” the recently capped Spanish international told Marca, as quoted by The Daily Star. “Especially with the level that Manchester City are maintaining throughout the season.”

Despite the disappointment that Chelsea fans have had to endure so far this season, Alonso has said that his teammates are determined to ensure that they finish in the top four this season and to challenge for success in the FA Cup, saying that Chelsea were “looking forward” to the “fight”.

Indeed, the Stamford Bridge side’s only remaining chance of silverware is in the world’s oldest football competition and they certainly have a great chance of at least making the Wembley showpiece as they are set to play against Premier League strugglers Southampton in the semi-finals.

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Following the international break, fifth-placed Chelsea will face off against fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in what could be a crucial match in deciding who will finish in the Champions League places come the end of the season.