GENK, Belgium, November 2 – Chelsea slammed their own fans for chanting about QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a 1-1 draw at Belgian club Genk in the Champions League.
A group of Chelsea’s 1,100 travelling supporters repeatedly sung “Anton Ferdinand: you know what you are” in a misguided attempt to show support for Blues captain John Terry.
Terry has been accused of racially abusing Ferdinand during his side’s 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road last month, with both the English FA and British Police launching formal investigations into the allegations.
The Chelsea and England captain, who was an unused substitute in Belgium, strongly denies the claims, but the club were quick to condemn the chants.
A club spokesman said in a statement: “The chanting was wholly inappropriate and we don’t condone it.”
Manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted he had not heard the chanting, which was at its loudest shortly before and shortly after half-time and he added: “I was concentrating on the game.”
It is uncertain whether Chelsea could face UEFA action over the chanting, but the incident left a sour taste on another frustrating night for Villas-Boas’s side.
Chelsea took the lead through Brazil midfielder Ramires’s first Champions League goal midway through the first half but David Luiz missed a penalty before half-time and Genk made him pay.
Jelle Vossen equalised in the 61st minute after some sloppy Chelsea defending and Raul Meireles and Frank Lampard missed glorious chances to snatch the points in the closing stages.
Group E is now wide open going into the final two rounds of matches, with Chelsea only three points clear of third-placed Valencia, although they can clinch a place in the last 16 with a win in their next match at Bayer Leverkusen.
“We go away and it’s a bit tighter, but we have responsibilities that we don’t escape. Our job is to qualify first and that’s what we’d like to do,” Villas-Boas said.
The former Porto coach knows Chelsea have lost some momentum after successive league defeats against QPR and Arsenal and now have to deal with this frustrating result.
He believes they will only get back on track once they start to show a more ruthless instinct in front of goal.
“We were quite organised in the first half and, in the second half, you are confusing losing control of the game with the emotions coming from the stadium,” he said.
“But we created enough opportunities to win the game. It’s just not happening for us in terms of efficiency.
“We hit the post, missed a penalty, had chances in front of the posts. It seems we need to focus, in terms of efficiency.
“At 1-0, the game is always close. They created a few chances, and one went into the net to make it 1-1.
“It’s not a bad result away from home, but it’s a game we expected to win. We have to react.”
Villas-Boas also refuses to blame Luiz after the Brazil defender surprisingly took the penalty ahead of the likes of Fernando Torres and Florent Malouda.
“They decide out on the pitch and today it went with David, but the goalkeeper made the save,” Villas-Boas said.
Genk boss Mario Been was delighted with his side’s fightback, especially after their 5-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge last month.
“I’m very pleased with the result,” Been said. “We saw also the game in London – this was completely different.
“In the second half, we kept on believing and we created some chances. We played even better than Chelsea in the second half.
“The goal was really good, so we can be very pleased to take a point against a big club like Chelsea. You can imagine how happy we are.”