ADRIAN KAJUMBA: Chelsea’s players will face Real Madrid with Todd Boehly’s words ringing in their ears… his outburst after the defeat by Brighton raised eyebrows but Frank Lampard insists the co-owner was just showing ‘passion’
- Chelsea host Real Madrid on Tuesday night trailing 2-0 from the first leg
- Lampard and then Boehly gave them a dressing down after the Brighton defeat
- Real boss Carlo Ancelotti also defended Boehly despite fierce criticism
It has long been clear that all is not well at Chelsea, far from ideal preparation for a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.
The need for co-owner Todd Boehly to deliver his own attempt to rally the troops has only added to that sense.
Just in case Frank Lampard’s words alone are not enough, Chelsea’s players will walk out for the second leg against the holders at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday with their season on the line and a message from Boehly ringing in their ears.
While Boehly’s appearance in the dressing room following Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Brighton was not out of the ordinary, what he had to say did raise eyebrows among well-placed sources.
After Lampard gave them a talking to — and he has been clear about where his players are coming up short since he returned — the American took his turn to address the squad.
Todd Boehly went into the dressing room after Chelsea were beaten by Brighton on Saturday
Fans were furious with Boehly at the final whistle and he made his way down to the dressing room afterwards
He had made his way across the stadium, down the tunnel and into the home dressing room along with fellow co-owners Behdad Eghbali and Hansjorg Wyss following the full-time whistle against Brighton, a game during which he was pictured in animated conversation with unhappy supporters.
Boehly was no different about the team’s underachievement, describing the season to the players as ’embarrassing’. Eleventh in the Premier League, first-stage exits in both domestic cup competitions and a string of poor results are not what they expected for their near £600million spend on the Chelsea squad.
Along with that, though, Boehly is said to also have tried to galvanise Lampard’s players ahead of Madrid’s visit.
They have looked woefully short of confidence, the change of manager doing little to spark an upturn. ‘I think the word broken is a bit much, but we’re not where we want to be,’ said Lampard.
And fail to turn around the 2-0 deficit from last week’s defeat in Madrid and their season is effectively over.
Lampard insisted he had no issue with Boehly’s contribution to the debrief post-Brighton, a third defeat in a row for the returning hero and one he described as the most deserved of the lot.
To Lampard, it was a display of Boehly’s passion for the club.
‘Yeah, I am comfortable with that,’ said Lampard. ‘There may have been some criticism of our old owner (Roman Abramovich) for not coming to games. Not being around and that wasn’t always true to be fair.
Frank Lampard has insisted Boehly’s outburst at the team showed his passion for the club
Chelsea have a mountain to climb as they are 2-0 down to Real Madrid going into the second leg
‘But when an owner is invested in their interest in the team and wants to help and improve it’s their prerogative to have the input they want.
‘I remember the moments as a player of owners first coming into the dressing room. It first happened at Chelsea, never anywhere else before and I remember being really happy that they were there.
‘You could touch them, you could high-five them and listen to them and feel them. That’s not a bad thing in terms of the identity of the club and where you want to get to.
‘There is no problem with it from my point of view. I had my things to say after the game. If the owner comes in and wants to be positive and speak to the players, then I think it is his part to do that. It can be regular in the modern day. It shows passion and that’s the first thing that I like.’
His former Chelsea manager and current Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said he would be similarly accepting as Lampard if his club’s president entered his dressing room.
Karim Benzema will be out to cause more havoc when Real visit Stamford Bridge on Tuesday
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti insisted Boehly’s actions should be seen as a positive for the club
Ancelotti said: ‘From the owners it could be an important motivation for the players. To have the support of the club could inspire the players to play better. I think it is a good move to do this and if the club want to come and talk to the players I have no problem.’
Looking ahead to tonight’s clash, Ancelotti is wary of the game-changing potential for Chelsea and also the scare they gave Madrid in last season’s Bernabeu quarter-final second leg after the Spaniards won the first game 3-1 but only went through in extra time after fighting back from 3-0 down on the night.
Ancelotti added: ‘Chelsea has a difficult moment and I’m thinking that the game can be a great opportunity for them to move from this situation.
‘Last year we thought it would be the most difficult game against Chelsea and we had the advantage and what happened, happened. We struggled and want to suffer less this time.’
Source: Read Full Article