Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea are NOT in a relegation battle, ahead of Saturday's clash with second bottom Sunderland.
Defeat against league leaders Leicester last night left reigning champions Chelsea confined to 16th spot, with just four points from their last seven games.
If Sunderland triumph at Stamford Bridge this weekend, Sam Allardyce's side would move level on points with Chelsea.
However, under-pressure Mourinho claims his side are not one of the contenders for the drop.
"I accept we are in the relegation zone but I don't accept we are in a relegation battle," said Mourinho.
"You look at the table and we are there but you think you are in a relegation battle if you think you are there for three or four months. I don't think that.
"To turn things around, I know only one way - working at the top level.
"We can't finish top four, but we can still finish top six because so many teams are dropping points. At the moment we are in a zone where I feel ashamed."
Chelsea could be without reigning Footballer of the Year Eden Hazard against Sunderland after the Belgian international limped off last night, following a heavy challenge from Leicester goalscorer Jamie Vardy.
"He made the decision to come off, so it must be a serious injury," added Mourinho.
"His first reaction was 'I can't continue', his second reaction was 'I want to try', but after his first step back on the pitch he said he couldn't. He's injured clearly."