Chelsea have lost their strength and confidence, says old boy Ballack
FORMER Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack believes the Londoners are a shadow of the team they once were and have lost the aura which struck fear into opposing teams
Ballack, now at Bayer Leverkusen, played a key role for the Bundesliga club on Wednesday night as Chelsea crashed to another last-gasp defeat, putting them in real danger of failing to reach the Champions League knockout stages and piling the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas.
For the third time on their travels in Group E, Chelsea took the lead - Didier Drogba scoring only his second goal of the season shortly after half-time.
But, as against Valencia and Genk, the visitors threw away victory at the BayArena, substitute Eren Derdiyok equalising before Manuel Friedrich completed the comeback in stoppage-time.
Ballack said: "I played four years for Chelsea and I know how quickly it can go (wrong for the manager). I had a few managers in this time.
"I know it's always difficult for the coach. But he's young and ambitious. He had success with his last team, Porto, and at the moment it is not easy for everybody. But it is not just the coach, it is also the players. They have to get out of the situation altogether.
"We knew coming into this game that they are in a difficult moment and you could feel it on the pitch. Every minute, especially at the beginning of the match, they were not that strong as they normally are. Even when they were 1-0 ahead they were not that safe or had the confidence that they normally have.
"They still have everything in their own hands, with a victory at home they are in the next round, but it is not the best moment for them."
Asked why things have gone wrong, he said: "I don't know. I'm not in the dressing room so I'm not too close at the moment. All I can say is what I see and if the results are not the best, maybe every weekend you lose a bit of confidence.
"We had difficult moments as well and I know how hard it is to come back. You have to fight every game and get back to the roots of easy playing.
"For the ambitions they have it's a little bit less (than they would expect) at the moment but they will come back."