EXCLUSIVE: Roman inquest! Abramovich grills Chelsea players over Euro collapse
22:11 GMT, 20 September 2012
Inquest: Roman Abramovich made a visit
Roman Abramovich demanded answers from players and coaching staff at Chelsea’s training ground on Thursday after they blew a two-goal lead against Juventus.
Abramovich, who watched the Champions League clash with the Serie A winners from his box at Stamford Bridge, arrived unannounced at Cobham in the morning.
He spoke with players, coaches and manager Roberto Di Matteo on the training field to ask why the European champions could not hold on to a lead against the Italians on Wednesday after Oscar had scored twice in the first half.
Delight: Juventus celebrate with their fans after the late equaliser
The fallout from the match continued when the club called in police to investigate racist abuse of midfielder John Mikel Obi on Twitter after the match.
Chelsea said in a statement: ‘We’ve been made aware of racist tweets targeted at Mikel which are totally unacceptable, disgusting and abhorrent. We’ve informed the police and support taking the strongest possible action.’
New-boy Oscar appeared to have put Chelsea on course for three points against Juventus with two stunning strikes. Juve secured a draw with goals from Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella.
Mikel, who gave the ball away in the build-up to Juve’s leveller, closed his Twitter account in response to the racism storm.
His situation adds to a series of off-field distractions for Chelsea, who started the season with the chance to win silverware in seven competitions. They have already seen two trophies slip away.
Chelsea were beaten by Manchester City in the Community Shield and were torn apart by Falcao and Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup in Monaco.
Working on it: Roberto Di Matteo has not got Chelsea in to the groove yet
Chelsea owner Abramovich arrived on Thursday with director Eugene Tenenbaum and a third, unidentified, executive to discuss the performance.
Di Matteo, who led Chelsea to European Cup and FA Cup glory last season, is under no immediate threat and Juventus are unbeaten in Serie A for more than a season, but Abramovich expected Chelsea to protect their two-goal lead.
Abramovich has barely been seen at the training ground since he fired Andre Villas-Boas in March but is known for piling the pressure on struggling managers.
Chelsea are top of the Barclays Premier League table, but there is a feeling at the club that they are yet to settle into a rhythm.
Here we go again: John Terry (left) is fighting against an FA charge
Their skipper John Terry is preparing to defend next week’s FA charge concerning an alleged racist remark towards Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road last October.
Team-mate Ashley Cole, who gave evidence for Terry in his successful defence against a racism charge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, has agreed to appear again.
Chief executive Ron Gourlay is working on an extension to Frank Lampard’s contract after opening talks with the midfielder.
After Chelsea’s Champions League win over Bayern Munich, Gourlay said he wanted the 34-year-old’s terms finalised before October but Lampard is yet to receive a formal offer.