With the Premier League now firmly plutocratic the deterioration of patience between owner and manager has been a burning issue for years.
With Chelsea out of the League Cup, F.A Cup and 12 points behind league leaders Man United Carlo Ancelotti is the latest Premier League manager to be attracting the ire of his employer.
The Italian has only been in the job just over 18 months but already finds himself refuting rumours about his future.
With the media claiming that Ancelotti’s job status entirely depends on Chelsea’s performance in the Champions League – the only competition they have any chance of winning – once again the affect of capricious owners has come under the spotlight.
He Oversaw Chelsea’s first ever League Double
Ancelotti took Chelsea where Jose Mourinho never did during his three years in charge and did it at the first time of asking. After clinching the title and scoring a record 103 goals in the process, he led Chelsea to a historic double after defeating Portsmouth 1 – 0 in the FA Cup final.
How this has been overlooked just nine months on is worrying at best. Even if this season has lost its direction Ancelotti’s achievements outweigh his failures and he deserves better.
He is the first Italian manager to have won the Premier League title, delivered the clubs first double and could deliver the clubs first Champions League title. The more you say it the harder it becomes to believe this is a man clinging onto his job. Chelsea having a poor season does not make Ancelotti a poor manager.
His Champions League pedigree
With four Champions League medals (two as a player and two as a manager) he is well versed in the World of Champions League football. He is on a par with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Arrigo Sacchi, Brian Clough, Jose Mourinho and Ottmar Hitzfeld as far as success in the competition is concerned; even the most ardent critics of Ancelotti would have to concede that he could do much worse.
Even though Chelsea crashed out to eventual winners Inter Milan last year they are still well positioned to do well. With only fourth place to fight for in the league they have much more time than most of their rivals to concentrate on Europe; even though the emphasis placed on success can also breed nervousness.
He ended four years without a title
Chelsea was directionless in the years following Mourinho’s departure until Guus Hiddink arrived and won the FA Cup in 2009. The Blues were still seven points off eventual champions Man United and finished third in the league, behind Liverpool. Under Ancelotti Chelsea were free scoring and became the first top division side to score more than 100 goals since Spurs in the 1960’s. They ended up with an astronomical goal difference of 71.
Brian Clough always said that the league was the hardest trophy to win and Ancelotti did it in his first season in England. He took them out of their championship lull extracting the best out of such players as Drogba, Kalou and Malouda – Drogba clinched the golden boot that season with 29 goals. Lampard also excelled in the diamond formation and ended up with 22 goals from midfield.
Chelsea are a squad passed its peak thanks to the owner
Before the transfer window Ancelotti was explaining that the midfield and defence needed improving as he saw the issue with age. It is naive to think that he had any form of input during the signing of Torres – a situation which smacks of the signing of Shevchenko. The issue of how old the squad is has had no affect on Abramovich who has utterly misunderstood the situation.
Three of Chelsea’s last five managers, including Ancelotti, have won the Champions League which begs the question of where does the blame actually lie in Chelsea’s failed attempts to win the competition Abramovich craves? It seems fairly obvious to me, with the owner more interested in token signings rather than pragmatic acquisitions that improve the quality of the squad. Ancelotti is used to dealing with what he is given after working under Berlusconi at Milan but what he is getting just isn’t good enough.
Ancelotti is the best man for the job
He knows what is needed to win the trophies Chelsea should be winning and has proved this already. If you talk of removing Ancelotti you implicitly raise the issue of who to bring in. Is there anyone at the moment that would really be a better option? Rafa Benitez, Frank Rijkaard and Harry Redknapp would be possibilities but none have won a Premier League title or as many Champions League titles as Ancelotti.
Hiddink is tied down with Turkey, if Mourinho returns to England it will be with Manchester United and anyone else is either happy where they are or are simply a gamble. Managers these days are expected to achieve immediate success and Ancelotti did that.
To get rid of Ancelotti is not to solve the problem but disguise it – let the Italian have absolute control of transfers as Mourinho did in his first season and let the man be totally accountable for the team. Abramovich needs to understand that it will be sound management that wins the Champions League, not ostentatious signings.
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