Chelsea players hold inquest after trauma of Spurs defeat

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The Independent Online

Not only did the Chelsea squad have their own bonding session earlier this week – with a paintballing trip in the Surrey countryside – but there was also a little blood-letting too, according to John Obi Mikel.

The 20-year-old midfielder yesterday revealed that the players held their own inquest into the débâcle of Sunday's Carling Cup final defeat to Tottenham.

"We had a talk among ourselves and we know we could have done better," the Nigerian said. "It was obviously disappointing but we just have to put what has happened behind us and make sure we move forward and that everything from here goes well."

The discussion was held – without the involvement of any of the club's managerial or coaching staff – at the training ground in Cobham on Tuesday after the players were given Monday off. On Wednesday they donned the kit for the opportunity to fire paintballs at each other.

Such is the air of crisis at Chelsea at the moment, however, that every move and comment is being scrutinised and it will be interesting to see how the club's manager, Avram Grant, deals with the issues at his scheduled press conference this lunchtime ahead of tomorrow's encounter with West Ham United.

The pressure on Grant has increased dramatically in recent days with those close to club owner Roman Abramovich already speculating that he will be replaced in the summer unless a trophy is delivered.

The favourite to succeed him remains Frank Rijkaard although the Barcelona coach's brother Herman told The Independent earlier this week that it will not be an easy task to prise him away before his contract expires next year.

John Terry, meanwhile, yesterday reiterated his desire to see out his playing career at Chelsea. "I really can't see myself leaving and I signed a new contract earlier in the season," the 27-year-old said. "I love the club and I'm so passionate about Chelsea. I like to think I know what the fans go through. I don't just come in, train and go home. I take it home with me."

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