Didier Drogba has cast major doubt over Chelsea's treble tilt after admitting there is 'a bad mood' around the club.
The Ivory Coast striker claims he and his Blues team-mates are 'suffering' and that Sunday's defeat by Liverpool 'cut away our legs' in their bid to catch Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.
Chelsea are 10 points adrift of United and must realistically beat Sir Alex Ferguson's men twice if they are to have any chance of retaining their crown.
In addition to their championship quest, Carlo Ancelotti's team are also aiming for success in the Champions League and FA Cup. But Drogba indicated that morale at the club was at a worryingly low ebb.
'Our league position is similar to what it was last season,' he said. 'But absences, and the fact that we've not been scoring as many goals, has made for a bad mood around the place.
'I'm finding our bad spell hard to live with, as do the rest of the squad. We are suffering, given that Chelsea are not accustomed to losing matches. Carlo Ancelotti has been unhappy in recent weeks.'
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The Double holders missed their chance to close the gap on United when Raul Meireles's strike earned Liverpool a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Before the setback, Chelsea had started to look capable of mounting a serious championship challenge once more by wining their previous three league games to arrest a slump that saw them pick up just 10 points from a possible 33.
'We had started to see light at the end of the tunnel once again,' said Drogba. 'But this latest defeat by Liverpool has cut away our legs and jeopardised our chances of winning the league title once more. It is going to be difficult for us to catch up with Manchester United.'
The ?75million double capture of Fernando Torres and David Luiz last Monday brought some optimism. But Torres, a British record ?50million signing from Liverpool, endured a nightmare debut against his former club and was replaced by Salomon Kalou after 66 minutes.
Drogba admitted: 'Fernando is a talented player - and important for our team - but it was difficult from an emotional point of view for him to be playing against his former team-mates.'
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