Cech: We're all in this together
Petr Cech has insisted Chelsea's players are just as much to blame as manager Carlo Ancelotti for what could be the club's worst season since Roman Abramovich's takeover.
Speculation about Ancelotti's future has intensified after the Blues crashed out of the UEFA Champions League against Manchester United, killing off their last realistic hope of silverware this term.
Only twice during Abramovich's eight-year reign have Chelsea finished the season without a trophy, and the manager was sacked on both occasions.
The current campaign looks destined to represent a new low, with the Blues having suffered earlier-than-expected exits in every cup competition, as well as languishing 11 points behind United in the Premier League.
But while the buck may ultimately stop with Ancelotti - who won the double in his first season in charge last year - goalkeeper Cech feels everyone needs to take a look at themselves.
"We win together, we lose together," the 28-year-old said after the latest Champions League disappointment of his seven-year Stamford Bridge career. "We are in the same boat and we try to guide the boat to the harbour as safely as possible.
"It's disappointing, always, if you are a part of a club and you don't win a trophy all season. After winning a double last season, everybody thought that we were going to defend the titles.
"We had a good start to the season and then the season became difficult but we were doing well in the Champions League until those two games against Man United.
"I think that we were very unlucky in the first game, but overall I have to say they won both games so they deserved to go through."
Ancelotti was recruited two years ago largely because of his reputation as a Champions League specialist. But Chelsea have failed to make the last four for two years in succession, something they had almost taken for granted in previous years.
With Abramovich obsessed by turning the Blues into European champions, Ancelotti's survival will depend almost exclusively on whether the Russian feels he is still the man to fulfil that dream.
Second place could give club a lift
Cech refused to discuss what had gone wrong during a season in which Chelsea threatened to sweep all before them in October but now has the goalkeeper talking up the merits of finishing second in the Premier League.
"If we finish second of course the season will not be remembered for trophies but you will at least remember that you finished second with your head up," he said. "We need to go and qualify ourselves to have another go in the Champions League next season."
Asked if that would help Ancelotti's cause, Cech added: "We are not only playing for the manager or only for the owner, we are playing for the entire club, which is the supporters - we know who supports the club all over the world - the players and all the staff and everybody involved in Chelsea Football Club. So it's a big number of people you play for."
After falling 1-0 behind last night and 2-0 down on aggregate, Chelsea lost Ramires to a second yellow card, briefly gave themselves hope when Didier Drogba equalised, but then conceded again seconds later.
Cech said: "After the sending off, we came back into the game, we scored a goal. Of course, it became more difficult to play when down to ten men than if it stayed at 11.
"I think the decisive moment was the second goal because, when we scored the goal, I think you could feel the pressure was on them.
"Suddenly, the stadium goes quiet. You can feel the atmosphere was tense and I thought that this was the moment for us to go and try to get the second goal. But, unfortunately for us, we were thinking too quickly about the second goal and they punished us for that."