Ancelotti: Blues won't slack off

Ancelotti: Blues won't slack off

Published Apr. 19, 2011 4:15 p.m. ET

Carlo Ancelotti denies his apparent indifference to his fate as Chelsea boss could cause his players to slack off for the rest of the season.

Ancelotti last week claimed it would "not be a problem" if Roman Abramovich sacked him after overseeing what is set to be the club's worst campaign since the Russian billionaire's takeover.

Indeed, Ancelotti seemed all but resigned to losing his job in the summer but, for now, he and his players are in limbo with six matches remaining this term.

With the Premier League title on the brink of being surrendered, there could be a danger of the squad losing their motivation over the course of the next month.


But Ancelotti said: "They are Chelsea players, they are professional.

"This is football, that sometimes the manager can change.

"They are working with me at this moment. Maybe they will work with me in the future. Maybe they will not work with me in the future, but with another coach."

There are numerous reasons for the decline at Chelsea which has put Ancelotti in the firing line, most of them arguably not the Italian's fault.

One of those was certainly the injury and illness suffered by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba at the end of last year, during what was the club's worst run in the league for almost 15 years.

Ancelotti claims the duo's absence cost Chelsea vital points that might have made the difference in the title race.

He added: "In the difficult moment, it was not easy to move on without these kind of players.

"We missed them in November and December when we didn't play well.

"Everyone doesn't have a good memory but this team, in the last month or more, did very well in the Premier League.

"This team have played good football and won a lot of games.

"Maybe two months ago, no-one could think we could come back to fight for the title.

"We didn't think this, but we are not so far from Manchester United and we're very close to Arsenal. Two months ago, this was a dream.

"In general, the team are doing well in the Premier League.

"We beat United, City and won a very difficult game against West Bromwich."

Chelsea are eight points behind United ahead of the leaders' trip to Newcastle.

A defeat or draw for Sir Alex Ferguson's men would give the Blues a slim chance of hauling themselves back into the title race but Ancelotti said: "The gap doesn't allow us to think we can win the title.

"So it's better for us to think about preparing for the next game against Birmingham to try to win, and the other five games."

Much more realistic is overhauling second-placed Arsenal, which Chelsea will do if they beat Birmingham and the Gunners fail to win tomorrow's north London derby.

However, Ancelotti once again demonstrated the level of expectation at Stamford Bridge by saying: "Second or third place is not important for Chelsea."

November's defeat at Birmingham was one result which the Blues might look back on as ultimately costing them their title.

"That game was one of our best performances this season. We didn't win and were really unlucky," said Ancelotti ahead of tomorrow's game against a City side who have taken seven points from nine to haul themselves out of the drop zone.

"They were in the relegation positions, but had very good results in the last few weeks.

"They're not out of fighting from relegation entirely, so they need to take a point tomorrow. It will be a tough game.

"They have good organisation and will try and play on the counter-attack, as they played against us in their home game."