/ 12 April 2011

Ancelotti: I am not afraid of being sacked

Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t expect to lose his job if he fails in his quest to deliver the Champions League trophy at Chelsea this season.

The 51-year-old Italian, who has a year remaining on his contract, is under pressure to lead Chelsea to glory and claim their first ever win in Europe’s premier cup competition.

The Chelsea manager has the added weight of expectation hanging over him, with this representing his side’s last realistic chance of silverware with their Premier League title push all but over.

But the veteran Italian, who won the competition with AC Milan in 2007, insists he is feeling “excited” rather than fearing for his future in a trophy club owner Roman Abramovich craves to win more than most.

Speaking 24 hours before the quarterfinal tie with Manchester United, who hold a one-goal advantage from the first leg thanks to Wayne Rooney, Ancelotti said that the pressure was good for him.

“A lot of time there’s pressure on me, for me it’s not bad. The pressure for me keeps me focused and concentrated, to give my players the best possibility to do their best.

“I’m focused on this, I played this kind of game with this pressure. But it’s not pressure — it’s excitement. To be involved in this game is fantastic for my job, for my career.

‘My future is already decided’
“So I’m not afraid and I’m not worried by this. I’m happy to be involved in this game, to use my ability and skill to give the players the best skills to play at their best.

“My future is already decided. I don’t have a problem about this game. It’s not important I have to speak with Roman. When I have a contract, everything is okay with him,” the coach added.

Chelsea can draw on inspiration from the last time these two sides met at Old Trafford.

Then they claimed a 2-1 victory — a result that would see Chelsea progress to the last-four if repeated.

But Ancelotti played down the significance of that after claiming it will count for nothing.

“We have a good memory from that, but this is a different story.

“We have to play another 90 minutes and they are 1-0 up and we have to try and come back.

“We will try and do better than the first game.”

‘No doubts’
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists Chelsea’s £50-million signing of Fernando Torres suggests they are obsessed with lifting the crown. But Ancelotti dismissed his opposite number’s theory.

“It’s not an obsession, it’s a dream. Every time you play in a quarterfinal you’re so close to the final.

“In three games, we have a possibility to play in a final. It’s not just us, but the other teams involved also.

“But [at] this moment of the competition, it’s a dream to reach the final.”

Torres has endured a difficult season and has yet to open his Chelsea account following his record move from Liverpool to Stamford Bridge in January.

But team-mate Michael Essien has backed the Spanish striker to come good, claiming he remains one of the world’s best in his position.

“He is one of the best strikers in the world, in Europe at this moment,” he said.

“When he starts scoring, all the noise about him will stop. It’s just a matter of time. Coming into a new club, he needs to settle.

“The players and the club have no doubts about him. We know he is going to deliver. We’re going to start feeding him and he will get his goals back.” — Sapa-AFP