Chelsea prepare to count cost of Club World Cup failure
Will trip to Japan impact on domestic season?
Monday 17 December 2012
Chelsea were waiting to learn the full extent of the damage caused by their Club World Cup failure today as they headed back to London from Japan.
The Blues' trip to Yokohama may have ended up doing them more harm than good following their surprise but deserved 1-0 defeat to Corinthians in yesterday's world final.
Victory would have made the arduous adventure worthwhile, despite the tournament adding to the punishing schedule that could further derail Chelsea's season.
Defeat simply made it even harder for interim manager Rafael Benitez to lift his players physically and mentally for Wednesday night's Capital One Cup trip to Leeds and beyond.
To make matters worse, Chelsea look set to be without both Gary Cahill and John Terry at Elland Road after the former's late sending off yesterday.
FIFA confirmed Cahill would serve a one-match ban, although there remained a chance today that could even be extended to two.
Benitez said on Saturday that Terry would still not be fit to return from his knee problem against Leeds, leaving David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic as his only fit senior centre-halves.
Luiz was in tears yesterday after watching the Corinthians side he grew up supporting crush his and Chelsea's Club World Cup dream.
But the Brazil defender refused to be haunted by what was the Blues' fourth failure to land a trophy already this season.
Luiz said: "You can cry one night. Tomorrow is another day."
Benitez warned there was little time for moping, with a huge Barclays Premier League game with Aston Villa also on the horizon.
"We will go back, we will have a game against Leeds and then against Aston Villa," he said.
"So we carry on trying to be strong, mentally. We'll have some [disappointed] hours after the defeat.
"But, after that, we have to be ready."
Former Liverpool boss Benitez was determined to take the "positives" from what was his second final defeat at his third Club World Cup.
But it is doubtful Chelsea fans - and the supporters of arch-rivals Leeds for that matter - will show the man they still see as the enemy any mercy on Wednesday night.
The reception will be in stark contrast to the next time Corinthians run out for a game after they ended Europe's five-year grip on the Club World Cup yesterday.
In the meantime, their squad will enjoy a well-earned holiday.
Defender Paulo Andre - well known in Brazil for his hobbies outside of football, including writing, painting and playing chess and poker - said: "I'm going to the United States, to Las Vegas and Miami. I will have fun!"
Andre famously created a painting after Corinthians's Brazilian title win last year in which his team-mates kicked footballs dipped in black paint at the canvass.
Asked if he would celebrate yesterday's win in a similar way, he said: "I have a painting that I'm preparing.
"Actually, it's 11 paintings."
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