Chelsea stars warned by Gourlay

Blues chief executive Gourlay, who was speaking on behalf of the

club’s owner Roman Abramovich, organised the meeting together with

coach Carlo Ancelotti in response to weeks of lurid headlines

involving club captain John Terry and his England team-mate Ashley

Cole. Gourlay reminded the players of their responsibility to

protect the image of the club and warned of ‘severe disciplinary

consequences’ should any player step out of line in the future. The

meeting, which lasted around 10 minutes, was the club’s response to

weeks of headlines that have tarnished the Blues’ image and led to

Terry being stripped of the England captaincy by national coach

Fabio Capello. The message from Gourlay was blunt and to the point

and it was made clear to all the players that the club would not

tolerate any further public embarrassment. Gourlay’s speech was

followed by a talk from coach Ancelotti, who reminded the squad and

the staff of the need to protect the image of the club. “We had a

meeting this week with the players,” revealed Ancelotti. “It was a

good meeting. Ron Gourlay was there as well. “We spoke to the

players and explained to them the behaviour that is required of the

players in this club. “Now they know very well what they have to do

and what behaviour is expected of them when they’re in the Chelsea

shirt. “We are interested, me and the club, in protecting the image

of this club. Not only the players and the manager, all the staff –

the people who work in this club – have to protect that image.

“That is one of the most important things, the image of the club.

We want to carry that forward. And I think the players and all the

staff know very well what they have to do. “All the players were

there. Ron spoke for the club, for the owner, and the players

listened. “It was a private meeting and I don’t like to speak about

what exactly was said. But, to confirm, the most important thing is

that everybody has to pay attention to protect the image of the

club.” Players who are found guilty of tarnishing the club’s image

will be dealt with severely by the club, although no punishments

were set out in the meeting. It is a clear indication that

Abramovich has had enough of his club being in the spotlight for

all the wrong reasons and although Gourlay arranged the showdown,

it is understood he was speaking on behalf of the Russian

billionaire. Although it is unlikely Chelsea would sack any player

found guilty of tarnishing the club’s image in the future, it is

understood that disciplinary action would be harsh and immediate.

The club’s stance clearly has the support of Ancelotti, who in

previous weeks had gone out of his way to insist he was not

bothered what his players did in their private lives as long as it

did not affect their performances on the pitch. The Italian will

take his side to Wolves on Saturday looking for a victory that will

keep them top of the Premier League table. But he has been rocked

by the loss of England midfielder Frank Lampard with a virus and

Brazilian defender Alex as a result of a knee injury sustained in

training. “We have some injuries for the next game,” said

Ancelotti. “Lampard is not available as he has a virus and Alex is

also out. “Alex had an injury yesterday and he has a scan today on

his knee. We have to wait to assess him. “Alex shot at goal at the

end of the training session and felt something in his knee. He has

to have a scan now. His knee has swollen up and we have to control

that. Frank will be ready for Inter Milan in the Champions League

next week. “John Terry has returned and trained very well this

week. He’s able to play tomorrow and is in good condition. He has

very good motivation. “We have to stay focused on the matches

because they will be very difficult ones. “We start tomorrow

against Wolves and every game is very important. “Until the end of

the season, we have 90 days. It depends on us what happens at the

end of the season. If we do very well in these 90 days, we can have

a good result at the end of the season.” “It will be a very

difficult match against Wolves because they have improved their

performances in the last few games. “They played very well against

Liverpool and against Tottenham, so we have to pay attention. We

have to do our best. I don’t think we can do anything else. We have

to stay focused on this game.” “We have to improve our attention

because Manchester United are very close to us. We have one more

point (than United), and we want to maintain this and, maybe,

improve after the game against Wolves.”