Ashley Cole branded Chelsea's Super Cup display an "absolute joke", while Gary Cahill said the defeat to Atletico Madrid was "embarrassing".
European champions Chelsea were meant to have improved since finally ending their long wait for Champions League glory, but Cole acknowledged they showed none of the "fight, desire, passion" that saw them claim club football's ultimate prize last season.
He tweeted: "Well, that was a lesson, absolute joke, no fight, desire, passion, and a big reality check."
Cole also apologised to Chelsea fans for the performance in the 4-1 defeat.
The loss was one of Chelsea's heaviest since Roman Abramovich bought the club and would have put a real dampener on the Russian's celebrations after he won his long-running legal battle with Boris Berezovsky earlier in the day.
It also may have sowed the first seed of doubt as to whether the £80million he spent on his favourite hobby this summer was value for money.
It had certainly looked that way when Chelsea stormed to the top of the Premier League, but Friday night was another failure with silverware on the line following last month's Community Shield defeat.
Cahill, who scored Chelsea's consolation after Radamel Falcao's hat-trick and Joao Miranda had crushed them, told Sky Sports: "We fell to pieces.
"We started the game sloppy and that went right through the game. If we're honest with ourselves everyone was below par.
"It was embarrassing at times. We let ourselves down and passed up a great opportunity. Obviously we will look to bounce back in the league as today was unacceptable."
Chelsea defended against Falcao as if they were completely unaware he was one of the best finishers in the world, rather than a player with whom they had long been linked.
Speculation was most intense when Andre Villas-Boas was manager, having coached the 26-year-old at Porto, but current boss Roberto Di Matteo denied he had ever been interested.
"We have two very good strikers in Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge and I'm very happy with the squad that I have," he said.
That squad is two players lighter after Michael Essien and Yossi Benayoun joined Real Madrid and West Ham, respectively, on loan.
There were also reports Chelsea had tried to sign another striker, something that might have allowed Sturridge to leave on loan, but Di Matteo said: "There's a lot of talk and speculation.
"Not everything is true. I don't think there's anything to report or comment regarding Daniel. I've always said we have the two strikers and they'll be with us.
"I'm happy with the squad. We have a good core of players and we've signed some young, exciting, talented players.
"It will take a bit of time to integrate them but I'm happy with the way the squad is."
Man-of-the-match Falcao admitted there had been interest in him from England this summer.
He added: "The club that made the effort to keep me was Atletico Madrid and, today, that was rewarded."