Ballack and Mikel ruled out for Chelsea

Chelsea have left Michael Ballack and John Mikel Obi behind today as they travelled to Cyprus for their Champions League clash with APOEL Nicosia.

Mikel is struggling with an ankle problem while Germany captain Ballack misses out with a calf strain.

However, Ashley Cole, forced out of their 3-1 defeat by Wigan on Saturday with an ankle injury, did make the flight as did Portugal midfielder Deco and England midfielder Joe Cole, who missed Saturday’s match with a cold.

Meanwhile, striker Didier Drogba, who is suspended for Wednesday night’s game in Group D, described their defeat at Wigan as the worst performance in his five years at the club.

The Ivory Coast international told his team-mates they must improve if they are to win the Premier League title.

The defeat was Chelsea’s first of the season and ended an unbeaten run stretching back over 23 games.

Drogba scored his 100th goal for the Blues when he levelled just after the break, but they fell apart when goalkeeper Petr Cech was red-carded for a professional foul.

It allowed Manchester United to reclaim top spot following their win over Stoke.

Cech complained bitterly that he should not have been shown the red card but Drogba said the incident had little bearing on the outcome.

“We didn’t play very well,” said Drogba. “We lost all the battles, all the duels. We didn’t win anything, we were poor.

“This is the worst game I have played in since I have been at Chelsea. We need to think about it, correct what was wrong and try to go again.

“We equalised just after half-time and we were trying to improve our game but then there was the penalty and red card which I think was a bit harsh.

“Still with 10 players, we had the chance to make it 2-2, but we didn’t do it. There was a lot of space and they used the pitch very well, they deserved to win.”

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