Ancelotti admits error in playing £50m Torres as United march on

Chelsea manager says he should have started Drogba as Rooney leads Ferguson's side into the semi-finals

Old Trafford

Carlo Ancelotti stepped into an uncertain future last night by admitting that he may have made a mistake by fielding Fernando Torres from the start of Chelsea's Champions League quarter-final defeat to Manchester United, which left Roman Abramovich looking a disconsolate figure as his hopes of European success went unfulfilled yet again.

"Maybe [wrong], could be," Ancelotti said of a decision which backfired, leaving Chelsea a goal down on the night and with the momentum firmly against them before they briefly rallied when Torres's second-half replacement, Didier Drogba, scored.

Sir Alex Ferguson rubbed salt into Ancelotti's wounds over the selection of Torres, whose £50m acquisition on Abramovich's wishes the Manchester United manager feels is a reflection of the west London club's "obsession" with European success. "I thought that, having signed Torres for the money they did, they had to play him," Ferguson said. "I wasn't 100 per cent sure but I couldn't see how they could leave Torres out."

Ancelotti rejected Ferguson's claim. "This is not true. I put Fernando in because he has skills and ability that could be good for us," he said. But the radically different positions of the two managers here were crystallised in the contributions of two strikers with a differential of £44m in cost. The £6m Javier Hernandez's 18th goal for United in only his 20th start set up the win, while £50m Torres took his time without a goal at Chelsea to 693 minutes.

Ancelotti has said this week that he will be staying to oversee what looks to be the reconstruction of an ageing Chelsea side whom he admitted across the two legs lacked the aggression of United – whose own fourth Champions League semi-final in five years will probably be against German side Schalke. Last night, Ancelotti seemed less sure. "It's not my decision whether I stay or not here. I haven't spoken with [Roman]," he said. "I'm not concerned. I have to work. I have to try to do my best. I don't know [whether I'll be staying.] It's not the kind of question a manager can answer. It will be difficult [to raise the spirit now] but we have absolutely to reach the top four places to reach the Champions League next year."

Ancelotti had no complaints about the 70th-minute dismissal of Ramires which, with Chelsea already two goals behind on aggregate, left them with a mountain to climb. "I think it was [a red]. Ramires should stay more quiet, more calm. He had had a yellow card already so it was not good for him to have another yellow card. He needed to stay more calm to avoid this."

Ferguson, who dodged the question of whether United have tabled a bid of between £17.5m and £20m for Atletico Madrid's 20-year-old goalkeeper David de Gea, offered a very different countenance, declaring his side had suddenly found a momentum to sweep beyond Schalke – who take a 5-2 first-leg lead into their home tie with Internazionale tonight – and put their historically poor record against German opposition in the past.

"Tell me about [that record]," Ferguson said, with the defeats to Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in mind. "We can make that change. You can see the momentum of the team at the moment. They are all desperate to play against Manchester City on Saturday. I think we have hit our form, no doubt about that."

Ferguson will be in Gelsenkirchen tonight to see Ralf Rangnick's side's second-leg tie. "Football is strange – but I'd think that Schalke will get through," he said. He also revealed that the injury that left Rio Ferdinand hobbling for a long period of the first half was only temporary and will not keep him out of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final with City.

Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin insisted last night that De Gea had a €25m (£22.5m) release clause in his contract and though his agent was in England, he had no authority from Atletico to negotiate a deal for the player with United chief executive David Gill.



News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition