No heat from above – Ancelotti

The Blues boss has seen his side lose three of their last four

Premier League games and will take his team to Newcastle on Sunday

still missing the experience of John Terry, Frank Lampard and

Michael Essien. Terry, who initially thought the nerve problem in

his leg could keep him out for months, is expected to return next

week against Everton while central defender Alex will play against

Newcastle before having an operation next week on his troublesome

knee. But while Ancelotti admits he felt under pressure when

Chelsea lost to Inter Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League

last season he maintains there has been no heat from Abramovich.

The expectation comes from himself. Ancelotti said: “The owner

doesn’t put me under pressure. After the defeat against Inter it

was normal to be under pressure because we didn’t reach our result

in the Champions League. “It wasn’t the owner who put me under

pressure. He always supports me and is supporting me also in this

moment. “To be under pressure doesn’t mean I’m not safe. It’s

normal to be under pressure. Under pressure I have more

concentration. “You have to look at the results. The results are

not good and I have to take my responsibility and stay more in

focus on my job. “I have to use all my experience to give more

opportunities to the players to do better.” By the time Chelsea

kick-off against Newcastle they could have been leapfrogged at the

top of the table by Manchester United, who face Blackburn at Old

Trafford on Saturday. But Ancelotti insisted: “We’re not concerned,

but it would be better for everyone to stay top. “A strong manager,

a strong team, has to manage the pressure. It’s impossible to stay

all the time at the top. “Last year was the same, we went down but

we reacted well and won the title at the end of the season.”

Ancelotti was also boosted by the news that Frank Lampard will

return to full training next week following his recurring groin

problems while Yuri Zhirkov could be available for selection

against Everton. Michael Essien, however, is suspended for the

Newcastle match. Ancelotti revealed he had held a meeting last week

with the players at which they probed the reasons for their recent

downturn in form and the fact that they have managed to score just

once in four league games. “It was a clear meeting,” said

Ancelotti. “They spoke with objective thoughts. I was happy with

that because I agreed with their opinions. “Last year the meeting

was a bit different. We lost an important competition like the

Champions League, the meeting had a different aim. “We wanted to

change direction, mentality, to focus the players on the Premier

League. Last week the meeting was just to speak about football. “I

don’t think we’re lacking in motivation. We want to win the Premier

League again and we want to win the Champions League. “We still

have that opportunity. We are in the last 16 in Europe and we’re

top of the table. We didn’t do well in the last three or four

games. “I agree with the criticism. There’s good reason to be

critical after these results.” Ancelotti, however, was confident

enough to name his team to face Newcastle, explaining the thinking

on the surgery scheduled for Alex. He said: “Alex’s knee didn’t

show a bad reaction after the last game. He trained today with the

team in the tactical session, but he doesn’t feel good. So we

decided to schedule the surgery for next week.”