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Mar, 21, 2011

Ancelotti 'fortunate' to keep job

Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he was lucky to survive Chelsea's mid-season "sleep" with his job, but indicated he could still leave the club in the summer if he or Roman Abramovich are "not happy".

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But Blues boss Ancelotti insisted after his side's 2-0 win over Manchester City on Sunday he was more than content at Stamford Bridge, reacting in a relaxed manner to comments from chief executive Ron Gourlay, who had said earlier in the day: "Let's see where we are at the end of May, then we'll judge the coach and other people at the football club.''

Ancelotti, whose contract expires next year, said: "I'm happy in this moment, so I think we will continue.''

But he also added: "If one party - the club or myself - is not happy to continue, I think we'll have to...'' The Italian then produced a 'cut-off' gesture, indicating a parting of the ways.

Ancelotti was backed by Abramovich at the end of last year after overseeing Chelsea's worst run in the Premier League for almost 15 years.

He said: "I know very well that this team slept for two months and, in that moment, I had fantastic support from the team. A lot of coaches that sleep for two months, at this moment, are at home watching the game on television. I am here - fortunately.''

Abramovich's faith in Ancelotti may yet pay off, with the Italian masterminding a late surge in their defence of the Premier League title. And the Chelsea boss has challenged his players to complete one of the great title comebacks after watching them maintain their faint hopes of retaining their crown by beating Manchester City.

The champions left it late before David Luiz and Ramires sealed a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge which lifted them above their opponents into third place and moved them back within nine points of Manchester United with a game in hand.

Anything other than a victory almost certainly would have killed off Ancelotti's men but, with their next five league games coming against sides in the lower reaches of the table, they now have an ideal opportunity to pounce on further United slip-ups during the next month.

"We have to try to win every game,'' said Ancelotti. "Now there'll be an international break. When the players come back, I'd like to see the same spirit and attitude.''

Sunday's defeat all but killed off City's own slim title aspirations and also cast doubt on their top-four credentials.

Assistant boss David Platt refused to expand on reports of a bust-up between manager and Roberto Mancini and striker Mario Balotelli after Thursday night's Europa League game against Dynamo Kiev.

"What happened on Thursday happened on Thursday,'' Platt said of the spat which allegedly took place following Balotelli's sending-off. "He remains part of our squad.''

Meanwhile, Chelsea confirmed they were "looking into'' allegations City's players and referee Chris Foy were the victims of a laser pen attack during Sunday's game.

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