Chelsea are well-placed to secure a Champions League knockout stage when they face Schalke 04 in their penultimate Group G game on Tuesday but coach Jose Mourinho warned that any slip up could still prove costly.
Chelsea, top on eight points, will advance with a win or even a draw in which they score two goals or more.
“It makes no sense to speak about the last 16,” Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho told reporters after his team arrived in Germany.
“We need points to carry on playing in the Champions League and that’s why we are here — to get the points. If we lose two matches we go to the Europa League,” he said.
The Germans, in second place on five points, have Sporting Lisbon breathing down their necks on four and Slovenia’s Maribor on three, still within striking distance.
Mourinho said securing qualification on Tuesday would spare the 2012 Champions League winners a lot of unnecessary pressure with a crowded calendar in the coming weeks.
Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday to remain clear at the top of the Premier League, reports Reuters.
“We have two matches to do it (qualify) but obviously it would be better for us to qualify tomorrow,” said Mourinho, whose team have not lost a competitive game this season.
“We have so many matches in December if we can avoid a crucial match to decide the qualification for the Champions League, if we can avoid that pressure, it would be very good for us.”