Chelsea executive Ron Gourlay has reportedly denied the club's first team players a bonus, if they win the UEFA Europa League.

The Blues are in the semi final of what is commonly regarded as a second-tier continental club competition, after suffering a disappointing group stage exit from the Champions League earlier this season. In doing so, the Stamford Bridge club became the first defending champions to be eliminated at that stage of the competition.

Ron Gourlay

"There's nothing in the players' contracts about a bonus for the Europa League as no-one expected them to be in it. Now they're through to the semi-finals, the players decided to ask. They got a quick response - the best way to describe it is short shrift," a source from the west London club revealed.

The club will face Swiss champions FC Basel in the final four of the Europa League, with the first leg set to be played in Switzerland on 25 April and the return on 2 May.

'Short Shrift'

The club's dismissal of requests for a win bonus highlights the feeling of frustration at the Bridge: a season that should have taken off from Roberto Di Matteo winning a maiden Champions League crown, by beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, has been thrown into something approaching chaos.

Di Matteo was summarily sacked after a 3-0 defeat to Serie A champions Juventus, in Italy, ended the Premier League club's title defence. And the reception to ex-Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, installed by Roman Abramovich as an interim manager, illustrated the level of supporters' discontent.

The Blues are presently fourth in the league and they trail London rivals Arsenal by two points. They do have two games in hand over the Gunners, one of which is Wednesday night's game at Fulham.

Cech on Fulham Match

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has demanded his team mates provide a fitting response after being beaten by Manchester City in the FA Cup semi final on Sunday. The Blues lost 2-1 after a superb goal from Argentina striker Sergio Agüero and the Czech international now wants his side to beat Fulham to reignite their challenge for a top four finish.

"The disappointment of losing the semi-final against City will be a factor... this is a derby game, a huge game anyway, and if they win they know they are safe from relegation and can then play without pressure. It's a tough fixture," the 30-year-old explained.