LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) Chelsea's malaise could deepen further at Valencia on Wednesday, four days after being booed off the park against neighbours Fulham and losing captain John Terry to injury in their first home game since Jose Mourinho's exit.
Certainly Valencia will show them no sympathy when they host the London club in their Champions League clash in the Mestalla looking to take command of Group B after their opening victory against Schalke.
Chelsea stumbled when they drew their opening group match against supposed lightweights Rosenborg two weeks ago and they were not the only European heavyweight to fluff their lines as the continent's premier competition began.
Italian champions Inter Milan have some repair work to do in Group G tomorrow when they host PSV Eindhoven having lost to Fenerbahce in Turkey while French regulars Olympique Lyon were hammered 3-0 in Barcelona and need a Group E victory at home to Scottish club Rangers.
Chelsea became the first English club to beat Valencia in the cauldron-like heat of the Mestalla stadium in April when a last-minute 2-1 victory sent them through to the semi-finals.
It was one of Jose Mourinho's greatest nights as Chelsea manager but a bitter pill for Valencia to swallow.
Mourinho is history now, however, and Israeli Avram Grant now finds himself in the hot seat with the eyes of Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich fixed firmly on him.
SHUFFLED CARDS Terry had an operation on a depressed cheek fracture yesterday and it is extremely unlikely Grant will be able to call on him for a match Chelsea dare not lose.
''The Champions League is something different, we always play a different way,'' Grant said after Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Fulham on Saturday. ''We'll give all we can.'' Inter warmed up for their home tie against PSV with a comprehensive 4-1 victory at Roma on Saturday and will be confident of beating the Dutch club to kick-start their assault on the trophy.
The three other Italian representatives face testing matches.
In Group B, Roma travel to Manchester United with the memory of last season's 7-1 hammering at Old Trafford still a vivid memory, Lazio host Real Madrid in Group C and Milan cross paths with Celtic, the side they beat in the first knockout round last season.
UEFA chiefs will be keeping a close eye on events at Old Trafford after the two matches between the sides earlier this year were marred by ugly crowd scenes.
All eyes will be on Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez's team selection when his side hunt their first win in Group A against early leaders Marseille.
Benitez has shuffled his cards liberally this season but it would still be a major surprise if he decides against unleashing Fernando Torres for an Anfield occasion that appears made for his striking talents.
English leaders Arsenal will expect three points from their first-ever meeting with Steaua Bucharest who are looking for their first home win in the competition for 10 years.
Sevilla, humbled by Arsenal in their debut in the competition a fortnight ago, can get back on track in Tuesday's other Group H fixture at home to fellow newcomers Slavia Prague.
Also tomorrow German champions Stuttgart need a quick response from their opening defeat by Rangers in Group E, although their opponents Barcelona looked ominously good when a Thierry Henry hat-trick inspired a 4-1 rout of Levante in La Liga on Saturday.
REUTERS BJR HT0937