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Former Chelsea old boys warn against failure to qualify for Champions League

Former Stamford Bridge stars Marcel Desailly and Graeme Le Saux are still backing Carlo Ancelotti as boss even if the Blues fail to qualify for the Champions League. Having bounced back from their worst league run for almost 15 years at the start of 2011, Chelsea have again slumped to fifth in the table after failing to win - or score in - either of their last two games.

Speaking at UEFA Headquarters for the official handover of the Champions League trophy to Heineken for its two-month tour of Asia, former France defender Desailly said: "Unthinkable, yes, because they need the Champions League."

Ex-England left-back Le Saux added: "To imagine them not qualifying is unthinkable.

"If they don't finish in the top two or three there'll be reasons for that, which I would think would be quite easy to explain."

Fortunately Ancelotti lead the club to an historic double in his first season at the helm, giving him more leeway in the bad times, reasons Desailly.

"The difference between Ancelotti and the others is that he won (the double)," said Desailly.

"He needs to read his players a bit better and fit them into his own tactics."

Le Saux added: "Clearly it's a team that isn't as solid as it was, it's not been as consistent as it has been.

"They've had opportunities to win games and not taken them. That's really uncharacteristic of Chelsea.

"I watched them play against Fulham the other day and there wasn't an obvious pattern to how they were playing. It was a bit desperate.

"There were players pushing forward when maybe they shouldn't have been. There was this determination to win but it wasn't controlled.

"They created a lot of chances but they didn't make many good chances."

Le Saux said of the £50million striker, Fernando Torres: "That huge weight of expectation on his shoulders, you can't underestimate how much that can distract a player.

"Fernando Torres is a tremendous talent. It won't take long before he's really got his fitness and he's playing well and scoring goals."

Desailly added: "Torres is a top-class player. If he finds his rhythm and the famous confidence that we're talking about, he's close to being the (Marco) van Basten of Chelsea.

"It's just a matter of time."

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Chelsea.

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Dave Williams

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