CHELSEA (2) vs MANCHESTER CITY (0)
CHELSEA manager Carlo Ancelotti sent out mixed signals regarding his future at the club after second-half goals from David Luiz and Ramires secured victory over Manchester City.
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay revealed yesterday that the Italian’s position would be reviewed at the end of the season.
Ancelotti, whose contract expires next year, initially appeared relaxed at Gourlay’s comments, which came hours before Chelsea roared back into Premier League title contention, before admitting his future might be out of his hands.
He said: “Let’s see where we are at the end of May, then we’ll judge the coach and other people at the football club.
“I’m happy in this moment, so I think we will continue.”
But he added, before producing a ‘cut-off’ gesture: “If one party – the club or myself – is not happy to continue, I think we’ll have to [see].
“I know very well that this team slept for two months and, in that moment, I had fantastic support from the team.”
The only ones in danger of sleeping at Stamford Bridge yesterday were the fans who had to wait until the 68th minute for the deadlock to be broken.
Manchester City, as they have done away from home against all of the other Champions League contenders this season, set their stall out to defend and hardly registered as an attacking force.
They looked likely to escape with point until the outstanding Luiz added to his burgeoning reputation by heading home substitute Didier Drogba’s free-kick, and the increasingly impressive Ramires rubber stamped the victory with an emphatic finish past Joe Hart after a jinking run had taken him away from Joleon Lescott and Aleksandar Kolarov.
Victory moved Chelsea back to within nine points of leaders Manchester United having played a game less, but Ancelotti moved to play down talk of Chelsea mounting a late bid to defend their Premier League crown.
“We have nine games to play and we have to do our best,” he said. “We have to try to win every game. Manchester United won on Saturday so the gap’s the same.
“Now there’ll be an international break. When the players come back, I’d like to see the same spirit and attitude.”
If there was a downside to Chelsea’s third straight league win it was the limp display of Fernando Torres, who has now gone seven games without a goal for his new club since his British record £50m move from Liverpool in the January window.
The Spaniard started in attack but was replaced by Drogba with 20 minutes remaining having failed to test City goalkeeper Hart.
Torres looked bereft of confidence whenever he got within shooting range but Ancelotti said: “He doesn’t have to lose his confidence. We have to be patient, and so does he. The goal will arrive.”
While Torres’ problems persist Chelsea’s Brazilian duo, Ramires and Luiz (inset), continue to thrive much to Ancelotti’s delight.
“Luiz and Ramires had fantastic performances and fantastic goals,” said Ancelotti. “Ramires is improving very well. Luiz’s goal was a surprise. Defensively, he worked with fantastic tempo for a long time.”