Terry denies crisis meeting as Blues slump continues

MARSEILLE piled more pressure on Chelsea’s under-fire boss Carlo Ancelotti as a second-half goal from Brandao brought their unbeaten Champions League run to an end last night.

Having already won Group F, the Blues were lethargic and passionless despite Ancelotti’s call for a return to the free-flowing football they produced at the start of the season.

Although the game had nothing riding on it apart from pride, the English champions looked a shadow of the side that took defences apart with ease last season.

Captain John Terry admitted his team need to rediscover the form which preceded their current poor run — but refuted claims of a training ground ‘crisis’ meeting.

Terry said: “There wasn’t a meeting at the training ground on Monday.

“There is no point us panicking. We realise we are not playing as well as we can, the players realise there is a lot more to give and to come.”

Ancelotti’s men have won just two of their last eight games in all competitions and their next fixtures are against Tottenham, on Sunday, Manchester United and Arsenal.

He admitted his attacking players still looked “a bit afraid to play football’ and felt they were only playing at 50% of their capability.

“We have to improve (in our next three games) but we have a possibility to do this. We lost confidence up front, now we are a bit afraid to play football, we have to keep going, stay compact and prepare well for the next game.”

Ancelotti revealed that Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole, who did not travel to Marseille, would be available at the weekend and sounded upbeat about Frank Lampard’s chances of taking part too after a long injury lay-off.

Marseille started brightly and almost took the lead in the 10th minute, the woodwork saving Chelsea when Mathieu Valbuena rattled the crossbar with a 20-yard drive that had Petr Cech beaten.

In the 15th minute there was total confusion when Chelsea appeared to have been awarded a penalty by Russian referee Vladislav Bezborodov after Souleymane Diawara brought down Florent Malouda.

The Russian pointed to the spot but, under pressure from Marseille players, appeared to consult his linesman and change his mind. He then awarded the Blues a corner instead, much to the annoyance of the Chelsea players.

Ancelotti’s side had rarely ventured into the home penalty area, while and Marseille had a goal ruled out for offside in the 35th minute when Gabriel Heinze was adjudged to have slipped offside from Cheyrou’s free-kick.

Goalmouth incidents were increasingly rare in a game that had little riding on it but Taye Taiwo almost sparked the contest into life in the 64th minute when his shot flashed past the far post.

The deadlock was broken in the 81st minute when Taiwo’s cross-shot was deflected by Ramires into the patch of Brandao, who tucked the ball home from six yards.

It was a killer blow for Ancelotti, who had watched another insipid performance and looked distinctly unhappy as he left the pitch.

Chelsea subs: Sturridge for Drogba 62, Bruma for Terry 72, Van Aanholt for Bosingwa 80.

Marseille subs: Lucho Gonzalez for Valbuena 62, A Ayew for Abriel 63, J Ayew for N’Diaye 86

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