Ancelotti: I have players’ backing

Carlo Ancelotti has said the Chelsea players still have confidence in him and says the departure of Ray Wilkins hasn’t affected team morale.

The Blues only fell off the pace in the Premier League title race after Wilkins surprisingly left his role as assistant manager in November.

Ancelotti’s position came under intense scrutiny during their worst run of results and, although there has been a recent upturn, top spot now looks out of reach.

The Italian admits that spirits have been dampened by losing more often than Chelsea have become accustomed to, but says there is no deeper issue.

He feels he still has the backing of the players, telling the Daily Mail: "I don’t believe they have lost confidence in me.

"It’s the same; with Ray and without Ray. We have lost confidence because we have not been able to do the things we want to do on the pitch.

"Look, the players might seem to be interested in things that happen away from the pitch, outside the training ground, but they are not so interested, I don’t think. They want to win football matches.

"The relationship between the manager and the players is the most important thing. To have a good feeling. It doesn’t mean that for the manager everything is OK.

"But I am happy because, just as the staff with Ray was good, the staff without Ray is also good."