Club Focus – Chelsea – Ancelotti must learn from his mistakes after Champions League exit

Chelsea’s quest for European glory ended on Tuesday night, as they succumbed to defeat at the hands of their rivals Manchester United in the Champions League. However, despite enduring one of their worst seasons ever since the Roman Abramovich era, fingers are being pointed not at the players but the manager. With rumours flying around that Carlo Ancelotti may get the sack come the end of the campaign it may be time for a close look at the former Milan Coach’s decisions this season.

Ancelotti had a dream start to his career in England when he first arrived. The Italian led Chelsea to their first double and had gained the adoration of the fans in doing so. However, what many people have forgotten is that last season the Blues had their fair share of setbacks (with poor form and below par performances on the pitch). There were times where Chelsea looked likely to throw away the title and the fact they won the Premier League by a single point reflected that.

This season Carlo struggled to get his team going once they hit that familiar slump, but the fact that it coincided with the departure of Ray Wilkins led many to believe that perhaps the Italian was not the real reason behind the Blues’ success last season, which in turn cast doubts on his abilities.

The real reason Ancelotti slipped up this season is not because this nor due to injuries of key players. It is because of his inability to deviate from his system, or maybe his stubbornness to do so. While Guus Hiddink was in charge at Chelsea, he constantly cited the importance of proactive thinking when it comes to tactics and formations. The Dutchman was never hesitant to change things that were not working for the team, but sadly this is a trait Ancelotti does not share.

A clear example of this occurred during mid season, when Chelsea were failing to score in successive matches. Florent Malouda in particular was in terrible form. However the Frenchman continued to hold a regular starting place, despite the fact that a budding striker named Daniel Sturridge was eager for a chance to prove himself. Sturridge was eventually sent out on loan to Bolton Wanderers, where he proved his worth. It only makes you wonder where Chelsea would be in the league table if Ancelotti was willing to change things up.

A similar instance occurred in Tuesday night’s game itself, when Fernando Torres was picked ahead of Didier Drogba, despite the No 9 being in terrible form. Comparing the performances of the two strikers against United, only one thought would run through every Chelsea fan’s mind: What if Drogba scored that goal in the first-half?

However, football management is not a game of ‘ifs and buts’ and when it comes down to it, Ancelotti will have to take responsibility for his decisions. Hopefully the Italian will be given another season to learn from his mistakes.

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