Graham Potter has acknowledged that Chelsea must improve in the final third but insisted that would come from collective work rather than singling out individuals.

The Blues have been unable to score from open play in the past two matches, which has resulted in back-to-back Premier League draws.

One forward player without a goal or assist in our past five matches is Raheem Sterling, whose most recent goal opened the Graham Potter era in mid-September and whose last assist was for Reece James in our 3-0 home win against AC Milan.

Sterling has been contributing to the team in other ways during that time, particularly when deployed at wing-back in recent matches following James’s knee injury, but Potter knows he has to get his attackers firing quickly in our final six matches before the World Cup break.

It’s something we have to look at not by zooming into one person but as a team,’ he said.

‘We can do better but if we do better as a team then individuals will benefit from that so that’s where the work is.

‘Raheem has the flexibility, ability and quality to play in a number of positions. It’s not straightforward with us losing the players we have so we’re trying to constantly find the right balance and the right solutions but he can help us in a number of positions.’

Raphael Varane left the field in tears on Saturday with an injury that he clearly fears may threaten his chances of featuring for France in Qatar and Potter has admitted that the World Cup will inevitably become a factor in the subconscious over coming weeks, even if the players remain committed to club matters.

‘I don’t think it affects their performances, they’re fully focused but they’re also human beings so somewhere subconsciously you’re thinking that in three weeks’ time there’s a World Cup,’ he added.

‘I guess because of how close it is after the games finish, normally you would have a build-up phase and a bit more time but we’re going from competition phase to playing the World Cup within a week.

‘It’s incredible how it is but we can’t do anything about it. We just have to help the players as best we can and make sure they’re not in dangerous situations for their own health.’