Didier Drogba has warned Chelsea they need to improve at both ends of the pitch if they are to retain their Premier League title.
The Blues ended the weekend in second place for the first time this season after yesterday's 1-1 draw at Newcastle United, and have taken just four points from the last 15 on offer.
Salomon Kalou's equaliser meant they at least avoided a third successive league defeat for the first time in 11 years, but with Manchester United having roared back to the top of the table with Saturday's 7-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers, Drogba knows they need to be more ruthless in both penalty areas.
We had these moments last year and it is up to us to change things, to get back to scoring goals and not concede.
Didier Drogba, Chelsea striker
The 32-year-old told BBC Sport: "That's normal, that's football. We had these moments last year and it is up to us to change things, to get back to scoring goals and not concede. We had so many clean sheets for a certain time, but now we are conceding in every game, so that's something we have to change if we want to go back to the top of the league."
Chelsea headed for St James' Park desperate to return with all three points after losing to Liverpool, Sunderland and Birmingham City either side of a 1-0 victory over Fulham in their previous four league games. Kalou's strike was just their second in that run of fixtures, which has now seen them concede seven, and that imbalance has proved costly.
Drogba said: "Once again, we created a lot of chances and could have scored maybe another goal. But the problem is we conceded a goal very early in the game and we had to chase, and when you have to chase, you create more space and you create more fatigue as well, so it is difficult to convert the opportunities you have."
Chelsea contributed to their own downfall on Tyneside when Alex guided a back-pass wide of advancing goalkeeper Petr Cech and Andy Carroll took full advantage to claim his ninth goal of the season. After a slow start, the visitors gradually worked their way into the game, but it took them until first-half injury time to get back on level terms when Kalou's shot was deflected past Tim Krul.
Chelsea largely dominated the second half, but after Ashley Cole had headed a Wayne Routledge volley off the line, Kalou fired into the side-netting when he should have done better and substitute Daniel Sturridge dragged a shot across the face of goal as they failed to make the pressure tell.
Return flight delayed
To compound matters, the Londoners left St James' Park for Newcastle International Airport only to be told the plane on which they were due to fly back had been stranded in Aberdeen by bad weather, meaning a long coach journey home. That will have given manager Carlo Ancelotti and his players plenty of time to reflect upon just where they have gone wrong in recent weeks.
Drogba said: "You expect Chelsea to win every game and people are maybe surprised. But that means we are one of the best in the league, so that's why the expectation is high. It's a responsibility we have to take and we are trying to do that."
Chelsea's fortunes could take an upturn this week with captain John Terry and England team-mate Frank Lampard set to resume full training, although Alex is heading back to Brazil to undergo knee surgery after delaying his operation in Terry's absence.