Soccer

Ancelotti sacked by Chelsea

Carlo Ancelotti's two year tenure at Stamford Brdige ended Sunday
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LONDON (AP)

Carlo Ancelotti was fired as Chelsea manager on Sunday following a trophyless season, leaving a year after he led the club to the Premier League and FA Cup titles.

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Despite accepting publicly in recent months that his job was under threat, the Italian's departure was only announced shortly after Chelsea lost 1-0 at Everton in the last match of a miserable season.

Chelsea bluntly said the 51-year-old Ancelotti had ''parted company'' with the London club.

For owner Roman Abramovich, finishing second behind Manchester United was not deemed acceptable for Chelsea, which won the league and FA Cup for the first time in a single season last May.

''This season's performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change ahead of next season's preparations,'' Chelsea said in a statement. ''Chelsea's long-term football objectives and ambitions remain unchanged and we will now be concentrating all our efforts on identifying a new manager.''

Ancelotti's replacement will be the seventh Chelsea manager since Abramovich bought the club eight years ago. The club has won every major honor won in that time apart from the one that Abramovich cherishes so much: the Champions League.

The Champions League campaign was ended this season by Man United in the quarterfinals.

Ancelotti, who won the Champions League twice at AC Milan before joining Chelsea, had another year remaining on his contract.

''The owner and board would like to thank Carlo for his contribution and achievements since taking over as manager in July 2009, which included winning the double for the first time in the club's history,'' the Chelsea statement said.

After that feat, Chelsea had begun the new season with five successive wins and was being hailed as an unstoppable force.

But the decision to allow five senior players, including Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Ricardo Carvalho, to leave in the offseason appeared to backfire when injuries struck the spine of the team.

That co-incided with the sudden, and unexplained, departure in November of assistant manager Ray Wilkins, which was immediately followed by the club's worst run in the league for almost 15 years.

Even the 70 million pound outlay on striker Fernando Torres and defender David Luiz in January to try and revive the team's fortunes backfired, with suggestions the arrival of Torres had a destabilizing effect.

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''I am now on holiday, but I am not sure how long my holiday will be!'' Ancelotti quipped at Everton shortly before being fired.

FC Porto's Andre Villas-Boas - a former scout at Chelsea - has been installed as the 2-1 favorite to replace Ancelotti by British bookmaker William Will.

The 33-year-old Villas-Boas last week became the youngest coach to win a UEFA club competition, the Europa League title coming in a season in which he also won the the Portuguese Cup, the domestic league and the season-opening Portuguese Supercup.

At 7-2 are Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, and Turkey manager Guus Hiddink, who have both worked under Abramovich at Chelsea.

Abramovich inherited Claudio Ranieri in the dugout in 2003, but the Italian left in May 2004 having failed to mark the start of the owner's regime with a trophy.

Mourinho replaced Ranieri, but back-to-back league titles weren't enough to save the self-appointed ''Special One'' when Manchester United beat Chelsea to the title in 2007.

The Portuguese manager left a month into the following season. His replacement, Avram Grant, was dumped after only one campaign. The Israeli left after losing the Champions League final on penalties to Man United.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning coach, had even fewer games in charge than Grant before departing in February 2009.

Hiddink was a temporary appointment and couldn't be persuaded to stay despite winning the FA Cup before Ancelotti was hired in June 2009.

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