Chelsea players relieved by decision to pull plug on European Super League

15:12pm, Wed 21 Apr 2021
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Senior Chelsea players are understood to be relieved by the club’s decision to withdraw from the European Super League.

Top players at Chelsea are pleased with owner Roman Abramovich and the board’s quick move to cut ties with the short-lived breakaway project, the PA news agency understands.

Chelsea’s players and coaches will now hope to focus fully on what should prove a dramatic end to their season, starting with Saturday’s pivotal Premier League trip to West Ham.

Chelsea owner Abramovich led the Blues’ withdrawal from the Super League on Tuesday night, having listened to the depth of feeling from club supporters in opposing the radical plans.

Abramovich has always insisted his ownership of Chelsea was never about profit or simply money, instead the Russian billionaire has been determined to strengthen the club’s long-term future in west London.

Chelsea are understood to have been among the last clubs to get on board with the Super League plans in the first place.

Blues bosses felt little option but to sign up, as much in order not to be left behind as to gain full understanding of the plans being progressed across the continent.

Widespread fury across the political and sporting landscape in England, coupled with Chelsea fan protests, tipped the balance as the Blues pulled the plug on their Super League situation on Tuesday.

Less than 90 minutes before kick-off in the Premier League clash with Brighton, supporters filled Fulham Road protesting the ESL and Chelsea’s part within it.

Chelsea’s players believe the club’s exit from the now-defunct competition will also alleviate any threat of a ban from international football.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust called for resignations from the Blues’ board on Wednesday morning, but the PA news agency understands no departures were expected from the Stamford Bridge club.

Tuesday night’s goalless draw with Brighton suffered for intensity and quality, no doubt due to the heavy Super League shadow.

Chelsea know full well they must now go to top-four rivals West Ham on Saturday and produce a result, with midfielder Jorginho accepting the Blues must raise the level from the Brighton clash.

“Brighton did very well, defended very well, pressed very well,” Jorginho told Chelsea’s official club website.

“So we didn’t create many of the chances that we usually do and then we suffered.

“When you can’t create many chances, in the few situations you can make a big chance you need to go into it hungry and create a big opportunity to score.

“To be fair, we didn’t, we were missing that, and when you don’t do it you can’t score and you can’t win.

“It will be a big game (at West Ham). We need to prepare very well because they are doing very well in the league.

“We need to be careful and play better than yesterday.”

Brighton boss Graham Potter admitted having to take Ben White’s late red card on the chin, with the centre-back to face a one-match suspension.

“I thought our players were amazing,” said Potter. “Our attitude and commitment was excellent.

“I didn’t see the first booking for Ben, but for the second, the ball gets turned over, it’s one against one and he made the foul.

“So it probably was a foul and a booking, and we just have to accept that, adapt and get on with it.”

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