Latest Transfer Update at 08-04-11
Ancelotti - defiant about future.
ANCELOTTI CALM ABOUT FUTURE
Carlo Ancelotti today insisted his job as Chelsea manager did not depend on turning around the club's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United.
Wednesday night's 1-0 first-leg defeat to United at Stamford Bridge has left the Blues in danger of finishing without a trophy for only the third time since Roman Abramovich's takeover.
On both other occasions, Abramovich sacked the manager, despite Claudio Ranieri and Avram Grant leading the side to the Champions League semi-finals and final, respectively.
Ancelotti was recruited because of his reputation as a European Cup specialist but a second-round and quarter-final exit in his two seasons in charge would suggest the club had gone backwards, rather than forwards, in that competition.
But the Italian was defiant today about his own job prospects, saying: "I don't think the decision on my future at the club rests on whether or not I win the Champions League.
"The club knows me very well, knows my behaviour, and they will take their decision on that.
"Until now, the support is totally 100%. I don't have a problem with this."
Crashing out of the Champions League would not be the only black mark against Ancelotti this season.
Chelsea also suffered early exits in both domestic cup competitions and trail United by 11 points in the Barclays Premier League - albeit with a game in hand - in fourth place.
Both Ranieri and Grant managed to finish second when they were given the boot, although Ancelotti can point to having won the double last season, while much of what has gone wrong this term has been beyond his control.
Rumours persist the signing of Fernando Torres was one of Abramovich's whims but Ancelotti has always denied this, insisting it was a collective decision.
However it came about, the Italian has been left with a £50million misfit, who appears unable to slot into either of Chelsea's preferred formations.
But Ancelotti said: "I don't think it's a problem with the shape."
He also dismissed captain John Terry's assertion Torres' record-breaking price tag may be weighing heavily on the Spaniard.
"I was a player and the players, I think, don't think about the money, about the transfer money or salary," he said.
"This is not a good moment for Fernando. But he has the support first from himself - his confidence - and from his manager and team-mates."
One team-mate who may hold the key to unlocking Torres' potential is the fit-again Yossi Benayoun, who linked up so well with the striker while they were at Liverpool.
Ancelotti said: "Benayoun is the player who knows Fernando best because they've played together, and that can help him to move on from this particular moment.
"He has fantastic ability with his final pass to help Fernando. He's not 100% fit yet. He was out for six months, but he's doing really well."
It remains to be seen whether either Benayoun or Torres start tomorrow's Premier League game with Wigan, with Ancelotti saying he would rest anyone tired from Wednesday night's exertions.
The bottom club would appear tailor-made for Torres to end his drought, having conceded 14 goals in their last two meetings with Chelsea.
Ancelotti was adamant it would not be that easy tomorrow, saying: "This will be a different game.
"Wigan played very well and didn't concede last week against Tottenham.
"Our aim is to win, to score one more goal than the opponent, and to play good football."
Even if Torres' misery persists, Ancelotti has vowed to stick by him, pointing out he did the same with Hernan Crespo while in charge at AC Milan.
"Crespo went his first six months in Milan without scoring a goal," he said.
"He scored two goals in the final of the Champions League."
With United having never lost a European tie after winning the first leg away, it remains to be seen whether Torres will get the chance to emulate that feat.