Chelsea remind players to "protect club's image"
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti and chief executive Ron Gourlay have reminded the first-team squad of their responsibility for protecting the image of the club after a series of embarrassing headlines in recent weeks.
Ancelotti: Words of warning
Gourlay, acting on behalf of owner Roman Abramovich, organised the meeting with Ancelotti and warned the playing staff of 'severe disciplinary consequences' should they attract adverse media attention in future.
As well as dealing with the ongoing fallout from the John Terry scandal, Chelsea have this week been confronted by lurid allegations relating to left-back Ashley Cole's private life.
While Ancelotti stated earlier in the week that "it doesn't interest me who my captain and my soldiers go to bed with. I only care about the ideas they wake up with in the morning", it appears that Abramovich and Gourlay have tired of recent controversies.
"We had a meeting this week with the players," revealed Ancelotti. "It was a good meeting. Ron Gourlay was there as well. We spoke to the players and explained to them the behaviour that is required of the players in this club. Now they know very well what they have to do and what behaviour is expected of them when they're in the Chelsea shirt.
"We are interested, me and the club, in protecting the image of this club. Not only the players and the manager, all the staff - the people who work in this club - have to protect that image.
"That is one of the most important things, the image of the club. We want to carry that forward. And I think the players and all the staff know very well what they have to do. All the players were there. Ron spoke for the club, for the owner, and the players listened.
"It was a private meeting and I don't like to speak about what exactly was said. But, to confirm, the most important thing is that everybody has to pay attention to protect the image of the club."
Chelsea, who currently lead Manchester United by one point at the top of the Premier League, visit Wolves on Saturday with Ancelotti determined to shrug aside any lingering controversy and respond to their last league outing - a 2-1 defeat at Everton.
Frank Lampard is missing due to a virus and Brazilian defender Alex has suffered a knee injury, but John Terry has returned from Dubai after visiting his wife and is available.
"We have some injuries for the next game," said Ancelotti. "Lampard is not available as he has a virus and Alex is also out. Alex had an injury yesterday and he has a scan today on his knee. We have to wait to assess him.
"Alex shot at goal at the end of the training session and felt something in his knee. He has to have a scan now. His knee has swollen up and we have to control that. Frank will be ready for Inter Milan in the Champions League next week.
"John Terry has returned and trained very well this week. He's able to play tomorrow and is in good condition. He has very good motivation."
Ashley Cole is a long-term absentee after fracturing his ankle in a challenge with Everton's Landon Donovan but Ancelotti is hopeful the left back will return before the end of the season.
"We have to wait," Ancelotti said. "The surgeon says that he will be ready in three months but the surgery was very good, now he is resting. We hope that he will be ready before the end of the season."