Jose Mourinho insisted his Chelsea side must "feel the responsibility" to be in contention for the Premier League title as the season enters a crunch period.
The Blues bounced back from Jay Rodriguez's goal after 13 seconds to beat Southampton 3-1 and move within four points of leaders Arsenal on a day when Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham all dropped points.
Mourinho played down Chelsea's title credentials after goals from Gary Cahill, John Terry and Demba Ba saw his side win their first of nine December games, merely suggesting it was important his team were in the mix.
"They must feel the responsibility to play for Chelsea," said Mourinho, whose side next play Sunderland, Stoke and Crystal Palace before the December 23 clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
"Feeling that Chelsea cannot be in December - like it happened in a few seasons - completely out of the title race.
"I can't establish targets. I can't say 'now I want to win five consecutive matches, now I want to be top of the league then'.
"One of the things these boys have to learn is to cope with the responsibility of being there. We cannot be 15 points behind by December, we have to be there."