No guarantees for Ancelotti
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has stopped short of giving manager Carlo Ancelotti any assurances over his future - but insisted the club are happy with his performance this term.
Chelsea still have an outside chance of winning the title following recent stumbles by Manchester United and Arsenal, while they will face the Red Devils in the quarter-finals of the Champions League next month. But a failure to mount a strong defence of their title is understood to have concerned owner Roman Abramovich.
"All you can say is that Carlo has a contract with the club until 2012,'' Gourlay said on Radio Five Live's Sportsweek. "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.
"Carlos is a world class coach. You look at his record and it speaks for itself. His record at Chelsea in a short time, winning the double in the first season in a new league, coming out of Italy, is a great feat. This is a strong, competitive league, but his knowledge of the game is second to none and he holds a dressing room well.
"He's won the Champions League twice as a coach and twice as a player so he's been there and done it. We understand it is very, very difficult to win trophies every year. What's very important for this club is to be competiting for trophies in the latter stages of every competition.
"We're realistic. You can't win the double, you can't win the treble every year. But we want to see progress in the club every year.
"All I can say is that Carlo has a contract until 2012. We were delighted with last season, and we're happy with the way it's going this season. We're coming to the sharp end now, we've got 10 games left in the league and we have a fantastic draw (against Manchester United) in the Champions League.
"Our expectations are high and we've got to keep driving the club forward.''
"Roman is fabulous in his support,'' Gourlay said. "He likes to be involved in the process, he likes to understand our decision-making and process and, to be honest, that's the best way for the club to move forward.''
Meanwhile, Chelsea have been linked with signing 15-year-old Czech midfielder Dominek Masek in a £1 million-plus deal.