Goalkeeper Petr Cech has admitted Chelsea suffered a hangover from surrendering the Barclays Premier League title in their disjointed draw with Newcastle.
Carlo Ancelotti’s new-look Blues failed to lay down an early marker for next season in a flat display yesterday, which came 24 hours after they were deposed as champions by Manchester United.
There was a sense of transition during yesterday’s 2-2 draw, with Chelsea parading their new kit, manager Ancelotti making six changes which seemed to hint at next season’s line-up, and a subdued lap of honour in which the Italian waved at the end of what looks set to be his final home game in charge.
Cech told his personal website, www.petr-cech.cz: “It seemed to me that in each of us there was still disappointment from not winning the title, as on Saturday Manchester United captured it.
“We wanted badly to win the last match of the season at Stamford Bridge and conceding in the last minute is not the best way to reward our fans, who have supported us all year.
“It somehow sums up our season in the way that there was always something missing for us to finish the job.”
If the team that started yesterday hinted at the shape of things to come, serious work is needed during the summer to improve on their performance.
Nevertheless, Cech insisted it was not all doom and gloom, with a draw ultimately proving enough to secure second place the league.
Josh McEachran also made his long-awaited first league start, the 18-year-old clearly possessing the talent to become a regular for many years.
Cech said: “Despite the bad result, I found two positives in it. The first one was that Arsenal were beaten, which means we have definitely secured second place in the league.
“The second positive is the performance of our young midfielder, McEachran. He started the game and did really well.
“Josh only recently turned 18 but if he follows the path he has been on, he is surely destined to become a big player at Chelsea. He is enormously talented, so it is up to him.”
As well as giving more game time to the likes of McEachran next season, Chelsea are also likely to spend again this summer.
One player repeatedly linked with them is 18-year-old Anderlecht star Romelu Lukaku.
The striker has previously talked up the prospect of joining the Blues but suggested at the weekend that he was going nowhere this summer.
“I still have a contract until 2015,” he said. “I can still learn a lot at Anderlecht. I do not have an agreement with any other club whatsoever.”
Newcastle are also in the market for a striker this summer after selling Andy Carroll to Liverpool in January.
But manager Alan Pardew may have unveiled a star of the future yesterday in Sammy Ameobi, brother of Shola.
Substitute Sammy’s debut at Stamford Bridge yesterday ensured the duo became the first siblings to play for Newcastle in a league game since Ted and George Robledo in 1952.
After being treated to chants of, “There’s only two Ameobis” by the travelling fans yesterday, Shola told the Newcastle Chronicle: “It’s great to be able to say I’ve played in a team with my brother. To make history has always been a dream for us since Sammy came to the club, and it has been realised.
“There were celebrations in the Ameobi household, of course. It was a proud moment and they have to be celebrated.”
Sammy added: “It was amazing – I couldn’t believe it when the gaffer called my name out. I was just looking around thinking, ’Is he for real?’ To come on the same pitch as my brother made it even more special.”