In Chelsea's not too distant past two successive defeats would have been ample cause for the club's trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich to order an investigation. Things have changed and the Russian, now into his seventh season at the helm, has become more accepting of the inherently unpredictable nature of the game.
However, Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, understands that a third defeat in a row, in tomorrow's FA Cup quarter-final against Stoke, will not go down well with the club's hierarchy. Tony Pulis's side visit Stamford Bridge with Chelsea wobbling, having lost 2-1 to Internazionale in Milan before succumbing 4-2 at home to Manchester City. Ancelotti launched an inquest into the sloppy defensive mistakes that resulted in those defeats but the international break prevented him from addressing the problems until the players returned to full training yesterday. The Italian believes the goals are down to lapses in concentration rather than any serious failings, and denied claims that attention on John Terry following the revelations about his private life were proving to be a greater distraction that had first been thought.
Ray Wikins, the Chelsea assistant manager, said: "We made six or seven mistakes before City's first goal last weekend; if you make one mistake in the Premier League, you lose a goal. "
Full-back Jose Bosingwa requires further surgery on his knee and will miss the rest of the season.