Joe Cole says need to drastically trim their squad this summer by offloading ‘at least 10 players’.
The former England midfielder was speaking after Chelsea’s exit at the hands of .
Defending champions Real Madrid beat Chelsea 2-0 at the Bernabeu and .
The defeat means Chelsea’s season is effectively over while Real Madrid advance to the Champions League semi-finals, where they will face either Manchester City or Bayern Munich.
Chelsea, who sacked Thomas Tuchel at the start of the season and then axed his replacement Graham Potter earlier this month, are just 11th in the Premier League with seven games remaining.
Frank Lampard, , has overseen four straight defeats.
But ex-Blues star Cole does not believe the situation is as grim as it appears and says Chelsea can improve significantly next season with a less bloated squad.
Chelsea currently have more than 30 first-team players at Stamford Bridge and the difficulty of managing such a large group is .
Asked if a year out of European competition could in fact benefit Chelsea, Cole told BT Sport: ‘It helped Antonio Conte’s team. Chelsea finished 10th and then won the league after Conte came in.
‘I’m not saying I think Chelsea are going to win the league next season – there’s more than enough strong teams above them – but without a doubt it will help the team.
‘But it will only help if Chelsea offload at least 10 players. I think at least 10 players need to be trimmed from the squad.’
Ex-England striker Michael Owen also believes Chelsea will be in better health following a summer clear-out and has backed the Blues to ‘bounce back’ next season following a dismal year.
Chelsea have struggled despite new owner Todd Boehly spending almost £600m on new signings over the last two transfer windows.
‘I don’t think there’s as many problems as you might think,’ Owen said. ‘With a little bit of a clear-out, a smaller squad and some stability, it’s almost impossible to think they will finish in the bottom-half again next season.
‘They will bounce back and be a top-six team, I’m certain of that. All is not lost – they’ve got some great players, there’s a lot going for this club. They just need to sort out some of these problems but it could be a lot worse.’
Chelsea return to Premier League action next Wednesday against west London rivals Brentford.
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