Club Focus – Chelsea – What next for Carlo Ancelotti?

It is one of the hardest moments in football and Chelsea experienced it first hand on Saturday against Everton as they were beaten in a penalty shoot-out. It was a match that saw the FA Cup holders dominate the game from start to finish, which left the manager ruing the fact that his side was not able to put the game to rest in normal time with the chances they had. Reflecting on the match, the Italian was quick to point out that his side were extremely unlucky not to have had a penalty in the first half. Tim Howard brought down Chelsea midfielder Ramires after he had broken clean through, but referee Phil Dowd instead chose to book the Brazilian for diving. However, replays indicated that it was clearly the wrong decision as the keeper had not even got a touch on the ball. The defeat extended the club’s horrible history in shoot-outs with just one success in eight attempts.

As Chelsea fail to get back to winning ways, the scrutiny on Ancelotti and his methods appears to increase with every game. The Italian is already subject to a number of rumours linking him with a move away at the end of the season, while others suggest he is on the verge of being sacked. However, Ancelotti remains professional and focuses on the game rather than the speculation surrounding his job. Now that his side is out of the FA Cup, the Blues boss can take comfort in the fact that his side now has a reduced fixture list (when compared to rivals in the league). Ideally this would give Carlo the perfect opportunity to capture the Champions League by prioritizing the games in Europe, but that is not the case because Chelsea are in danger of finishing fifth in the league and cannot afford to take domestic games for granted.

The Blues travel to Denmark to face Copenhagen in the second round of the Champions League on Tuesday. Chelsea were lucky enough to be drawn against one of the weaker sides at this stage of the competition and will be expected to progress. The good news is Ancelotti will have Fernando Torres available for this one, as Liverpool not qualifying for the Champions League deems the Spaniard eligible. A good result would surely lift the spirits of the players and everyone around the club, especially considering the fact they have a game against Manchester United awaiting them on their return.

The next few weeks are absolutely vital from Carlo’s view. His team have to progress in Europe while also getting a good result against United at Stamford Bridge in order to keep them in the hunt for fourth place. If the Italian fails in delivering at this crucial phase of the season he could not only ruin Chelsea’s chances of winning anything but could also end up eliminating them from next year’s Champions League as well.

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