Incoming head coach Antonio Conte will be expected to inspire a title challenge from Chelsea next season despite recent troubles, caretaker boss Guus Hiddink says.
Hiddink was appointed in December after Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea plummeted from title winners in 2015-16 to candidates for relegation prior to Christmas.
The Dutchman, in his second caretaker spell at Stamford Bridge, restored stability, but he still has just one home win in the Premier League ahead of Monday’s match with title-chasing Tottenham.
Conte has been appointed as Mourinho’s permanent successor and must secure an immediate about turn in fortunes, according to Hiddink.
“The pressure is on. We have to see Chelsea next year again fighting for the title and being on top,” Hiddink said.
“There are many teams fighting for the title. Five, six clubs must always express their desire for the title, including Chelsea.”
Leicester need three more points to win the most unlikely of titles and could achieve it on Sunday with victory at Manchester United.
If the Foxes fall short of a win at Old Trafford, Spurs must end a 26-year wait for victory at Chelsea to have any chance of the title.
Hiddink reckons the influx of the TV revenue at the start of a bumper broadcast contract will make the Premier League more competitive, with it possible Leicester’s challenge will be repeated.
“The established teams, clubs will desperately react, but with the means all the clubs are getting now, they can be more competitive than just a one day or one season happening,” Hiddink said.
If the title race goes to final day, when Chelsea play Leicester at Stamford Bridge, there is no suggestion the Blues will roll over to prevent Spurs from winning the title.
“If so, we play our game, at our utmost,” Hiddink said.
Leicester will be congratulated if they travel to west London as champions.
Hiddink said: “You must give the champions the guard (of honour), that is of course normal.”