LONDON (Reuters) -- Chelsea captain John Terry has questioned his team's desire and called on them to end the bad run threatening to derail their Premier League title defence.
The champions have won just two of their last eight games in all competitions and slipped to third in the league table after earlier looking like they would run away with the championship.
They make the short trip across London to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday in the first of three consecutive games against fellow title contenders needing to stop the rot.
"A couple of weeks ago we were seven points clear, 20 goals ahead of most teams and now we are trailing behind," Terry was quoted by local newspapers on Friday as saying.
"So we need to go on a good run and now would be the perfect time with Tottenham, Man Utd and Arsenal coming up. It would be ideal for us.
"They are obviously tough games but we have big players here and hopefully they are prepared to rise to the challenge and put their neck on the line."
Defender Terry denied there was a crisis at the London club, who have picked up just five points from the last 18 in the league in a run that is worrying manager Carlo Ancelotti.
"When you go four or five years with that winning feeling, week after week and not suffering a blip like we have done in probably 11 years at the football club then it is obviously hard to take," Terry said.
"At times, you are going to have to just do a lot better than the opposition, and at the minute, we are not wanting it as much as them."
Chelsea have 30 points from 16 games and sit two points behind leaders Arsenal and one behind second-placed Manchester United who have a game in hand. Manchester City are fourth on 29, while fifth-placed Spurs have 26.
The champions' morale has been hit since the unexpected departure of popular assistant coach Ray Wilkins last month and they have not been helped by the absence since August of midfield talisman Frank Lampard.
Terry managed to find some comfort, however, in the fact that no matter how tricky things were for his team at the moment, there were other Premier League giants suffering more.
"The good thing is we are not like Liverpool. We are not out of it. We are still in with a very good chance," he said.
He pointed out that even league leaders Arsenal and second-placed Manchester United, who meet on Monday, were not playing particularly well.
"They are all dropping points so if we can go on a really good run we can hopefully pull away from teams again," he said.