Paul Parker

Chelsea will go out, and Roman will never learn

Roman Abramovich wants it all - and he wants it now

For Chelsea to have any hope of reaching the knockout phase of the Champions League, they need Shakhtar Donetsk to beat Juventus.

For Chelsea to have any hope of matching their Jose Mourinho-era glory, they need Roman Abramovich to stop being so unreasonable.

Juventus just need a point to qualify behind the Ukrainians, and their veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo just said they were not interested in playing for the draw, a statement that usually means they will do just that.

Neither side needs to attack — Shakhtar are through anyway and only need a point to top the group — meaning neither side are likely to take any risks or show any ambition at all. Why should they and why would they?

It certainly doesn't bode well for Rafael Benitez, who is the only man Chelsea fans can't blame for this one — although they'll probably try to.

Benitez has an excellent record in Europe, one thing you cannot question him for. Everyone knows that a different style of football, a different tactical set-up, is required in the Champions League and, while Benitez has his limitations, that is one thing he does understand.

Roberto Mancini is one league-winning manager who is yet to discover the Champions League formula, while for all his success Sir Alex Ferguson has had to go back to the drawing board on a couple of occasions - most recently after last year's debacle.

Roberto Di Matteo learned the hard way. He was able (and very lucky) to win last season's Champions League playing a deep-lying, defensive tactic; when he changed the set-up (under the duress of Abramovich's signings), it all went wrong. He wasn't able to adapt and paid the price.

Adapt accordingly and you qualify easily — as United have done this season.

Chelsea have made a rod for their own backs and there's every chance they will suffer the embarrassment of being the first defending champions to fail to get out of the group stages.

The only person you can blame here is Abramovich, for his meddling, his unrealistic expectations, and his total lack of patience — even if he is responsible for what will be seen as their golden era under Mourinho.

While there is no doubt his new signings are young and exiting, most of them lack experience in this competition, or indeed at the highest level — Eden Hazard was in France only, Oscar has been in Brazil, and while Juan Mata an exception for his Spain exploits he has not really had to deal with a sustained European challenge at club level.

That's fine - but if you bring in young players you have to be patient as the coaches change the system, or coerce the players into it.

Experience is what gets you through in Europe — we've seen ordinary teams grind out big results through organisation and spirit, such as Celtic against Barcelona, and functional, experienced sides top their groups, like United.

Furthermore, a sign of a good coach is one who — as I touched on earlier — adapts when things don't work out. Borussia Dortmund flopped in Europe last season but have been absolutely brilliant this time out in the toughest group by far. Juergen Klopp adjusted the system, the players learned from their experience, and they are genuine contenders now.

Di Matteo was very fortunate last season with his negative tactics and experienced senior pros to lead under pressure; he tried the same tactic against Juve this time and, without he likes of Didier Drogba and John Terry to lead the fight, he lost the match and his job.

That type of strategy requires big characters and experienced pros, and it usually only works the once — Chelsea last season, France and Italy at the 2006 World Cup, and — changing sports — England at the2007 rugby World Cup.

Chelsea have some very good players but they need a manager to make their three main attacking midfielders gel together, or to decide not to use all three. They need a manager to work out whether the defensive personnel available can defend high or deep.

There is also a lack of passion and desire — that's what beat them at Upton Park at the weekend.

I can't say I've been Benitez's biggest fan over the years, but Chelsea's supporters are persecuting a man for taking on a thankless, difficult task under serious pressure with unrealistic expectations.

They're persecuting a man who was simply asked to do a job, to help out, who was the best available man at the time after the main target said "not now".

It might be too late for them, but if Benitez does take Chelsea through to the last 16 he has done a good job regardless.

Have a go at the man who made the decision — Benitez is only doing what he was asked to. No-one's asking them to support the man but to get behind the team and the club.

It will all be academic anyway — I don't think they'll get through. And I don't want them to — when you spend some time at that club, like I did, you know what they're really like, and it hasn't changed.

We live in this delusional world where Chelsea believe they have a right to win every single game, just because they won a few trophies a few years ago. No-one has a divine right to win anything, not even Manchester United, who have had their blips over the years.

They bided their time when Sir Alex had poor seasons, and they reaped the rewards. Chelsea is a panic club and, while sometimes you have to reboot the computer, you can't base your model on instability.

The Premier League is competitive — much more so than Spain, were only two teams can win it now.

Real Madrid can hire and fire because, if you're not at least challenging for the title, there's clearly a problem. There is only one other competitor and if you fall behind them, you're in trouble.

There are four teams who can win the Premier League, with a handful of others snapping at their heels, and Roman needs to understand this — any hint of instability and you cease to be one of those four.

But it doesn't seem that he will, and as a result Chelsea will continue to lack stability, even if they do get their man in the summer.