Graham Potter acknowledged time will be required for his new-look Chelsea to gel but he is "confident" the Blues will qualify for the Champions League.
Chelsea were held to a goalless draw at home to local rivals Fulham on Friday, as the Blues – who offered full debuts to Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudyrk – lacked fluency at Stamford Bridge.
Potter's side are a long away from top-four chasing form, sitting ninth in the Premier League, but the Chelsea head coach remains optimistic his team will be playing in the Champions League next season.
When asked about a top-four finish, Potter said: "I'm confident with the potential we have. I'm confident with the ability we have within the group.
"What we need to do now is gel the team. That's the challenge, that's what we have to do.
"There's still more football to play, but at the same time I don't want to worry about what we're going to do in four, five months' time. I need to focus on the next day, the training session and the next game."
Argentina World Cup winner Fernandez was signed for a Premier League record £106.8million (€121m) move from Benfica, but largely impressed on his debut just three days after the transfer.
"Very good, considering he's been in the country not very long," Potter said of Fernandez on Sky Sports.
"He doesn't know us, we don't know him so well but I think you can see flashes of his quality and personality. He'll get better and better."
We keep working. pic.twitter.com/PADm1AZPhR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 3, 2023
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp questioned how Chelsea managed to spend so heavily in January, while Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola echoed a similar sentiment.
Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, Joao Felix and Noni Madueke all arrived alongside the record-breaking agreement for Fernandez.
Potter was keen to focus away from just the transfer fees spent by a Todd Boehly-led Blues consortium, as he outlined his next challenge in west London.
"I think you have to look at it all in terms of transfer fees and salaries," Potter said.
"You can sign someone for less of a transfer fee but the salaries are enormous, so it just depends on how you structure the contract, how you structure the deal.
"But we're confident in what we're doing and I think we've done a good job and now my job is to improve the team."