Chelsea need win to get back on track says Florent Malouda


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The Independent Football

Florent Malouda has insisted the solution to Chelsea's current woes is simple: victories, starting in tonight's Champions League clash at Bayer Leverkusen.

The Blues have made their worst start to a season since Roman Abramovich bought the club, amid a host of on and off-field setbacks that have piled the pressure on the club.

But three points in this evening's Champions League Group E encounter at the BayArena would send Chelsea into the knockout stages and help lift the gloom at Stamford Bridge.

Malouda refused to go into detail about precisely what has gone wrong this season but the winger was in no doubt what was needed to turn things around.

"We have a great opportunity by winning this game to finish first in our group," he said.

"I think, actually, that's what we need more than comments or explanations or analysis on what's been going wrong.

"We all have inside a feeling about what's been going wrong, and we need to correct it. This is a perfect opportunity to do that.

"Winning will get us back on track and back in a dynamic positive circle."

Manager Andre Villas-Boas, who Malouda insisted was not to blame for the current slump, added: "The next game is against Leverkusen and it's another opportunity for us to get things back on track.

"Two draws will get us through, but that's not what we're looking for.

"We try to take the initiative in every game, and it won't be different here."

There was more bad news for Villas-Boas last night when he was fined £12,000 and warned as to his future conduct by the Football Association over his verbal attack on referee Chris Foy after Chelsea's west London derby defeat at QPR.

Villas-Boas was found guilty of improper conduct by an independent regulatory commission for the comments made after the Blues' controversial 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Loftus Road on October 23.

The Chelsea manager has requested written reasons for the guilty verdict and fine before deciding whether to appeal.

Leverkusen boss Robin Dutt backed Villas-Boas to turn the Blues' season around but was determined to exploit their current fragility tonight.

"We know that Chelsea really aren't doing that well at the moment," he said.

"They've dropped points recently.

"That doesn't make them any worse - we have respect for their players - but they're under certain pressure, too."

No-one would enjoy piling on the misery for Chelsea more than Michael Ballack, who was jettisoned by the club 18 months ago.

The Leverkusen midfielder has been wearing a protective mask this month after breaking his nose but has shrugged off the injury in typical fashion.

Dutt said: "The way he's played in the last few matches and months, he's incredibly important. There's no question about that.

"In our team, there is hardly anyone who has played in the Champions League.

"For most players, it's new territory. It's good to have an experienced player in form."