AFTER the defeat, the inquest. Chelsea are under the microscope after Tuesday’s Champions League exit to Manchester United ended their last realistic chance of silverware this season. Roman Abramovich has much to ponder, with the following issues likely to be exercising the owner.
Can they finish in the top four?
Quite simply Chelsea must put their disappointment behind them as quickly as possible and make sure they qualify for the Champions League again. That is their biggest challenge over the next few weeks and how they respond will determine the futures of staff and players.
Will Carlo Ancelotti stay?
If they go on a poor run and scrape into the top four I think the manager will go. The Italian probably deserves to keep his job but Abramovich will be evaluating everything, not least the damage that appears to have been done to the chemistry at the club.
Has spirit been damaged irreparably?
Chelsea and Ancelotti have not been the same since the departure of assistant Ray Wilkins late last year and the subsequent slump. His exit was such a key decision. Ancelotti has looked a lost soul since, and it could be he who ultimately pays the price for its effect.
What should be done with Torres?
It was felt Fernando Torres would improve the club from top to bottom when he arrived for £50m in January. He has done nothing of the sort and I think the focus will be on getting him ready for next season now, with Ancelotti leaving him on the bench for the rest of this campaign.
Which players must be moved on?
Top level teams need players at the peak of their powers and throughout the team Chelsea are lacking them. The likes of Alex, Florent Malouda, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Salmon Kalou and even Frank Lampard will be wondering whether they will be moved on this summer. His leadership qualities will save him for now but even John Terry’s time is running out.