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Italian defends Torres as striker's barren run continues

By Wayne Veysey at Stamford Bridge

Carlo Ancelotti admitted today he could have lost his job during Chelsea’s mid-season slump but said he is not worried now about his position despite the board failing to rule out the possibility he could leave in the summer.

Asked about Ancelotti’s future in a radio interview on Sunday morning, chief executive Ron Gourlay declared that the club would “see where we are at the end of May”.

Speaking after overseeing a 2-0 win over Manchester City that lifted Chelsea over Roberto Mancini’s team and into third in the Premier League table, Ancelotti claimed he was unconcerned by the lack of endorsement from the board.

The Italian said: “I don’t need to speak now about my contract. I’m working here, I’m happy here. My contract runs until 2012 and at the end of the 2012 season we will take a decision. I am happy at this moment. If one of myself or the club is not happy to continue, we will think about this.

“I know very well that this team slept for two months. At that moment, I had fantastic support from the team. A lot of coaches who sleep for that time are at home watching on television.”

Gourlay said earlier today: “All you can say is that Carlo has a contract with the club until 2012. We're delighted with Carlo and what he's achieved so far. These things can be pretty fickle.

“Carlo has come in and won the double last season. Yes, the expectations are high, but they are high at many clubs around Europe and we've got to be realistic. Let's see where we are at the end of May.”

Another Chelsea employee who is under the spotlight is striker Fernando Torres, who drew another blank today after being preferred up front to Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. The Spaniard was subbed after 71 minutes, shortly before David Luiz opened the scoring for the home side.

“He has to keep going,” said Ancelotti. “I don’t ask him to score, I ask him to move well, to have good movement. We have to be patient, he has to be patient and then the moment will arrive.

“Hopefully Anelka, Drogba and [Salomon] Kalou also will start to score. The most important thing is the team has good spirit and the strikers are trying hard. I chose before Copenhagen [in midweek] to play Anelka and Drogba and then Torres and Kalou [today].

“In this moment I want to use all the strikers so everyone is as fit as possible. The players understand that. The most important thing is the players are fit and in good motivation. We have eight or nine games left, although it depends on what we do in the [Champions League] quarter-final.”

Ancelotti reiterated his belief of recent weeks that it is too much of an uphill task for Chelsea to mount a credible challenge.

He said: “It is too late. Manchester United won yesterday so the gap is the same. The most important thing for us is to focus game by game. There will be an international break and when the players come back I would like to see the same spirit and attitude.

“It was not easy to find a solution in the final third [against City today]. That was problem in the first half. Man City suffered after the game they played on Thursday night. They were a little bit tired – we had more opportunity at the end of the game.

"It was a difficult game as we did not want to concede a counter attack. The spirit was good. I am happy for this, our moment is good. We showed this on the pitch.”


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