ITALIAN’S FUTURE IN THE SPOTLIGHT AS TITLE BID IS KILLED OFF AT OLD TRAFFORD
CRESTFALLEN Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti admits he is at the mercy of owner Roman Abramovich after his attempts at retaining the Premier League title were doomed to failure by yesterday’s decisive defeat at champions-elect Manchester United.
The Italian, who achieved the Double last season, still has a year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge but is being strongly tipped to get the sack following a campaign that, barring a miracle, will end without a trophy for the Blues.
Ancelotti could be forgiven for pining for his homeland after a rollercoaster spell in west London but he insists he wants to stay in England and with Chelsea, if Ambramovich is ready to keep faith with him for a third season.
“I have another year on my contract and I would like to stay but it is the decision of the club,” said the former AC Milan coach. “The club will take a decision at the end of the season, we have two more games, two more weeks and we wait and see. We will arrange a meeting after the end of the season.”
Ancelotti is odds-on to leave this summer after a season in which Chelsea were quickly written off and clambered back into contention but ultimately looks set to end on a sour note. He admits the campaign has been a disappointment but is adamant he has no idea whether he retains the trust of the Russian oligarch who wooed him personally.
“I don’t know what the owner thinks about the season but in my opinion we could have done better,” he added. “I am honest to say that Chelsea didn’t do its best this season but sometimes that can happen. Last season we had a fantastic season, this year it was a little bit different.”
Ancelotti, 51, has been linked with former club Roma but would be likely to have his pick of suitors and hinted he could even stay in the Premier League after confessing he is smitten with English football.
“Italy is my country and I cannot say I don’t want to come back to Italy – I will come back to Italy one day as I love my country,” he said. “But in the last two years I have found a fantastic atmosphere in football, a fantastic country, and I respect the people. There is no violence in the stadium, the stadiums are full and I would like to stay here for these reasons.”
Chelsea have been painted as a fading force whose spine has passed its peak but Ancelotti believes there is no need for major surgery, whoever is in charge.
“This year we bought [David] Luiz, Ramires and Fernando Torres who are all fantastic players and this was enough for the future," he said. “I don’t think this team needs to have a lot of movement and now is not the right time.”
RUN-IN | WHAT’S STILL ON OFFER
Man Utd have all but sewn up the title but need a point from their remaining two games to be mathematically sure. Chelsea and Arsenal are safely in the top four but Man City must still fend off Tottenham and Liverpool and could yet climb. At the other end it looks bleak for West Ham but any of the bottom three could feasibly stage last-gasp escapes.
14 May, Blackburn (A); 22 May, Blackpool (H)
15 May, Newcastle (H); 22 May, Everton (A)
15 May, Aston Villa (H); 22 May, Fulham (A)
10 May, Tottenham (H); 17 May, Stoke (H); 22 May, Bolton (A)
10 May, Man City (A); 15 May, Liverpool (A); 22 May, Birmingham (H)
9 May, Fulham (A); 15 May, Tottenham (H); 22 May, Aston Villa (A)
14 May, Man Utd (H); 22 May, Wolves (A)
15 May, Fulham (H); 22 May, Tottenham (A)
14 May, Sunderland (A); 22 May, Blackburn (H)
14 May, Bolton (H); 22 May, Man Utd (A)
15 May, West Ham (H); 22 May, Stoke (A)
15 May, Wigan (A); 22 May, Sunderland (H)