A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
John Obi Mikel has been banned for three matches and fined £60,000 following his actions after the Chelsea loss to Manchester United earlier in the season. Mikel entered Mark Clattenburg’s dressing room after his teammates informed him they thought the referee had racially abused him, something the FA acknowledged in their statement:
“The Regulatory Commission's independent chairman Christopher Quinlan QC emphasised that the Independent Regulatory Commission accepted, as did The FA, that at the time he threatened the referee the player genuinely believed that the referee had racially abused him.
"But for that factor the suspension would have been significantly longer."
After Chelsea faced the ignominy of a group stage exit in the Champions League despite a club record 6-1 win last night, defender David Luiz has said the squad feel embarrassed by their campaign. Looking as the positives though, Luiz is excited by the idea of playing the Europa League, and is targeting a win in the tournament.
Petr Cech is another player focused on winning the Europa League as a tournament he has never played in with Chelsea. The goalkeeper also said that he hoped the club could take the positives from their win over Nordsjaelland into their match at Sunderland and the Club World Cup that follows.
Avram Grant has spoken about the recent rumours linking him with a return to Stamford Bridge, saying that no-one from the club had spoken to him about the job at all. The former Blues boss also said that the club needs to get behind Benitez, who has a tricky task ahead of him:
“The club need to support him, and then it will be more easy for him because it is not an easy time for Chelsea - first time out of the Champions League next stage, and the gap between them and the first place in the league is huge, so I think he needs it."
Kevin De Bruyne has spoken about his future at Chelsea, saying he is far from certain about returning to the club in the summer. The Belgian midfielder, who is currently on loan at Werder Bremen, has said that he can’t the idea of sitting on the bench, and would rather move to get first team football.
In transfer news, Chelsea may face competition from Zenit St Petersburg for Marouane Fellaini. The Blues are reportedly long term admirers of the Belgian, who might leave next summer if Everton do not qualify for the Champions League.
image: © Ben Sutherland