Ancelotti calm as Chelsea begin tough stretch
LONDON: Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is confident he has the backing of the club’s Russian owner as he prepares to visit Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday for a match that could make or break their season.
The champions’ form has nose-dived since a lightning fast start to the season and their only win in their last six matches was against Slovakian side Zilina in the Champions League.
With Manchester City’s victory over West Ham United on Saturday, Chelsea will begin at White Hart Lane in fourth place and Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham will also have their eyes on reeling in Ancelotti’s faltering side, who also host Manchester United on Dec. 19 and visit Arsenal on Dec 27.
Another defeat, and a buoyant Tottenham side will start favourites, would increase the pressure on the former AC Milan coach, although having experienced the highs and lows of Serie A he remains calm about Chelsea’s current plight.
“Roman Abramovich understands what the problem is at the moment,” Ancelotti told Chelsea’s website. “We have bad injuries and when we played good football and we were not able to win we lost a little bit of confidence.
“In this period he is more close to us compared to the other moments and I think I have trust in him and he has trust in me. It is very important to have the support of the club and the players when the moment is not good.”
Unlike the more draconian training regimes employed by Italian coaches in Serie A when things are not going well — a system known as concentration — Ancelotti is hoping a more subtle approach will turn around Chelsea’s fortunes.
“I did concentration a lot of times when I was a player but I was really upset when the coach said to me to go six days without family, without everything,” Ancelotti said.
“Routine is not good for a team. It is good to change something but not good to break from it totally because we have our philosophy for playing and our philosophy for training.
“We are changing some things to avoid the routine of the training everyday but only this. We are now using more tactical sessions to come back to play our football.”
Tottenham, beaten just once in their last 19 home league games, have taken the Champions League by storm this season with their eye-catching style, but their priority remains finishing in the top four in the Premier League.
“We’re focused on the Premier League again now and we can forget a little bit about the Champions League until February,” Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes told the club’s website.
“We need to keep going and picking up points, especially at home, it’s so important.”
Chelsea are still without midfielder Frank Lampard while Tottenham are missing Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart and midfielder Tom Huddlestone. ( soccer news )