LONDON - Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has played down talk of a crisis at the club after the reigning Premier League champions slumped to their fourth defeat in five league matches against Manchester City.
Sunday's 1-0 defeat, courtesy of a Bernardo Silva goal, left Antonio Conte's side five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with nine games to play, heaping further pressure on a manager whose long-term future was already uncertain.
Conte's side were flattered by the scoreline at the Etihad Stadium. After starting without a recognised striker, the visitors failed to muster a single shot on target and commanded only 29 per cent possession.
"I don't even question myself about that -- it is not a crisis," said Giroud, who joined the club from Arsenal in January.
"We have played (Manchester) United and City away. Obviously we could have done better but these are not small games.
"We are not happy with that (but) it is not the day and the moment to question whether we are behind the boss or not. Obviously we are behind him and we are all sticking together."
Chelsea are in grave danger of missing out on Champions League football for a second time in three seasons.
They remain alive in this season's competition but must find a way past Barcelona at the Nou Camp next week to reach the quarter-finals.
"It is not a good weekend for us because our opponents in the Champions League race won," said Giroud, who came on as a second-half substitute against City.
"But we still have nine games to go. We will believe until the end and keep the faith in our game.
"Some top teams will play against each other -- you never know. We need to keep the focus on this and win the next game and go step by step. We need momentum to reach fourth place."