Antonio Conte has blamed the absence of the main goalscorer for Chelsea’s struggle to finish in the top four of the Premier League.
Chelsea kept alive their Champions League hopes with a 1-0 victory at Swansea on Saturday, Cesc Fabregas settling the contest in the fourth minute with his 50th Premier League goal.
A third successive away win cut the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham to two points, who have a game in hand and entertain Watford on Monday night.
But Chelsea remain firm outsiders to make the Champions League next season – and Conte knows the reason why.
‘Our top scorer has scored only 12 goals,’ Conte said after claiming his 50th Premier League victory.
‘And if your best scorer has scored only 12 goals it means it is very difficult to fight for something this season.
‘This is the reality, the stats speak very well.’
Eden Hazard leads the way in the Chelsea scoring stakes, with Alvaro Morata one behind on 11 Premier League goals.
The Spain striker joined from Real Madrid for around £60million last summer after Chelsea had seen their number one target Romelu Lukaku join Manchester United.
But Morata has struggled after a promising start, scoring only once in the Premier League in 2018 while being guilty of several high-profile misses.
Olivier Giroud, signed from Arsenal in January, was again preferred to Morata at the Liberty Stadium, yet Conte was again left to lament missed opportunities in front of goal.
‘I think we could be more clinical to kill the game,’ Conte said.
‘But instead we kept the game in the balance and it happened against West Ham the same.
‘We dominated and created many chances but we scored only one goal, and in the final Swansea had the chance to draw.
‘I think this season we are not clinical, but in the last period.’
Swansea’s first home league defeat since the start of January stretched their winless run to six games and leaves them in real relegation trouble.
They have failed to score in four of those games and are now only a point above the bottom three after Southampton’s victory over Bournemouth.
‘I don’t think there’s a problem with scoring enough goals,’ said midfielder Ki Sung-yueng.
‘The players we have have the ability to score goals.
‘But everyone has to help the strikers and attacking players, it’s not just their responsibility.
‘We had very good chances against Chelsea – a top-five side who were champions last years – but they didn’t go in and we have to focus for the next three games.
‘We are still in an important situation but we have to maintain this level of performance in the next three games.’