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Jan 9, 2011

Sack would not have surprised Ancelotti

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti says he would not have been shocked had Roman Abramovich decided to sack him during the club's dismal run of form.

Ancelotti also believes Chelsea can no longer hold on to the Premier League crown as they sit nine points behind Manchester United with a game extra played.

But the Italian coach did explain the close relationship he has with Chelsea owner Abramovich, something which has allowed him some breathing space as the Blues slipped down to fifth in the table.

Ancelotti was quoted as saying by the Sunday Mirror: "I wouldn't have been surprised to lose my job because this is football.

"For some people it's a surprise I'm still here. But I have a very close relationship with the owner and that is always important. It helps in these situations when people question you.

"I think we have to look and face the reality. That is that this has been a long period since we had a good result.

"I have been able to maintain a good relationship with the owner. I don't know how many coaches were able to manage this club with these sorts of results without being dismissed, but again the owner has supported my job and I feel this because I have spoken with him.

"I didn't expect a moment like this, I expected a difficult moment but not too long and not as difficult as this."

Asked if he would have to win the FA Cup again to stay in charge, he said: "Really, I don't know. To maintain the job here results are important, but it's also important we play well.

"I don't think I would have lost my job if we were unable to win the Premier League last year. I think the team played fantastic, attacking football, attacking football."

Ancelotti insisted no player would be safe from the axe in an attempt to turn things around.

He said: "There are no untouchable players here. I think Drogba was out against Tottenham, Anelka was out because up front we had the opportunity to change something and it is more difficult to change something defensively.

"There are some players that in this moment can use their personality, character and experience to help the others to move on. But there are no untouchable players. If I think they deserve to play, they play."

Ancelotti's sacked former assistant, Ray Wilkins, has backed him to turn around the club's torrid season.

Wilkins told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek: "When I watch them play there's a lack of confidence there from a few of the players that shouldn't really be the case because they are top quality players, and I'm sure they will get back to the standards that they have performed at.

"It's been very disappointing. If you look at the level of performance it certainly hasn't been there and when you have a number of world-class players not actually playing to their maximum it's magnified 10 fold.

"Carlo's obviously been manager of AC Milan for eight years, therefore that does come with a lot of pressure so Carlo is used to the pressure that comes with big jobs. The one thing that will be hurting Carlo won't be the media attention, it will be the way the team are playing. He's extremely passionate about his football.

"He's a very decent bloke and he is a fun guy and he is laid back, but he has this burning passion for the fact that the players aren't really playing to their full potential.''

Asked if he could return to Chelsea as some reports have suggested, Wilkins added: "No, I wouldn't have thought so. I think once Roman (Abramovich, the owner) has made up his mind that something will happen, then it happens.''

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