Tame draw leaves Chelsea all blue

LONDON - Chelsea manager Avram Grant refused to criticise his players after they failed to overcome Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

LONDON - Chelsea manager Avram Grant refused to criticise his players after they failed to overcome Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

The home players left the field to a chorus of booes after this Premier League stalemate and there is deeper frustration after the sending off of Didier Drogba and an injury sustained by captain John Terry.

Terry was set to undergo an operation on a cheekbone fracture yesterday and is set to miss his side's trip to Valencia in the Champions League this coming week.

Chelsea trail early league leaders Arsenal by seven points already, but Israeli manager Grant is refusing to show too much concern as the pressure mounts on him to reproduce the record of Jose Mourinho.

"We had seven or eight chances, which is good, but we did not score," he said. "I think it was not our best game. We created enough to win, but unfortunately we did not score.

"We need to score, and then we need to win, I can't argue with this. This gap there, anything can happen, but we need to score goals and play better.

"The players want to do that. We need to improve a few things and then we can speak about the gap."

Terry's injury came after a first-half collision with Clint Dempsey. His availability is now in doubt for England's coming Euro 2008 qualifying matches.

"He wanted to continue," Grant said, "but we did not want to take the risk. The players said it (the challenge) was an elbow, but I have not seen a replay of it."

Chelsea dominated this west London derby, but lacked the attacking edge needed to carve open the defiant Fulham defence.

Other results:

Birmingham 0, Manchester Utd 1; Derby 1, Bolton 1; Manchester City 3, Newcastle 1; Portsmouth 7, Reading 4; Sunderland 1, Blackburn 2; West Ham 0, Arsenal 1; Wigan 0, Liverpool 1. - Sapa-AFP

X