Hughes conceded: "It is becoming difficult, especially now that Tottenham have won the Carling Cup.
"The teams in the top half seem to be beating the ones in the lower half, and it's going to take more points to get a European place than it has ever done.
"But we will keep going. We've got some winnable games coming up so if we can build up a little bit of pressure by gaining maximum points from our next few games, then hopefully that will take us to where we want to go.
"We have a target in mind. If you look at the averages over the last five or six years, and the totals that have got teams into Europe, then you base your targets on those totals.
"But because of the way the league seems to be going this year, with the top half beating the bottom half, I think it's going to take even more points this time."
Had Chelsea beaten Spurs yesterday then that would have potentially freed up an extra UEFA Cup place, which would have been awarded to the side that finishes sixth in the Premier League.