Ancelotti admits Chelsea are out of the championship race

It was probably a good thing that Chelsea's new £25m defender David Luiz's limited grasp of the English language meant the Brazilian was blissfully ignorant of the significance of what his new manager Carlo Ancelotti was saying just a few feet away.

Ancelotti took the occasion of the official unveiling of his recent signing from Benfica to admit that his team's chances of retaining their Premier League title are effectively over.

Last weekend's home defeat to Liverpool was the champions' seventh of a disappointing season, and going into this weekend's fixtures they are 10 points behind leaders Manchester United with 13 games to go, including contests home and away with Sir Alex Ferguson's men.

It was enough for Ancelotti to concede that retaining the title is probably beyond his team, despite the recent frantic spending by club owner Roman Abramovich that saw Luiz and £50m striker Fernando Torres join the club during the final hours of last month's transfer window.

Given that Luiz has already played for Benfica in the Champions League and is therefore ineligible for Chelsea in Europe, the 23-year-old centre-half might have been harbouring dreams of lifting the Premier League this season, but Ancelotti appeared to be ruling it out yesterday when he said: "Now for us it is difficult to think that we can come back and fight for the Premier League title."

Ancelotti said a more realistic target might be to finish in the top four, while continuing to chase the FA Cup and the Champions League. The Italian said: "The gap is very big, we have to be honest. The most important thing is to reach fourth place in the table to maintain Chelsea in the Champions League and we have to fight with the other teams. It is better for us to take it game by game in the Premier League but we have to reach fourth place as a minimum."

Luiz came across as affable, laid-back and confident in his first press conference since the move. One encouraging sign was a promise to learn English as quickly as possible. "I am doing my best to learn. I like to talk and communicate," said Luiz, who will make his full debut on Monday night at neighbours Fulham.

Communicating with John Terry, his likely partner in defence, will be his priority but care will have to be taken concerning the subject matter, as Luiz is a committed Christian who mentioned his debt of gratitude to God several times yesterday.

He certainly has plenty to thank the Lord for, his excellence at football having taken him from a life on the breadline in Sao Paulo. Luiz is not widely known in his homeland, having moved to Portugal when he was 19, but that will change now he is at one of the richest clubs in the world. He said yesterday he does not forget where he came from.

"I grew up in a hard place in Sao Paulo. Many people in Brazil grow up in the same conditions as I did. I'm just grateful that I had parents who were able to work, even if they had to work every day to give the best life to me and my sister. I am eternally thankful for what my parents did for me and I want to honour them for as long as I can," he said.

His father Ladislau Marinho was a footballer with Atletico Mineiro in the city of Belo Horizonte but was forced to give up to become a teacher because he could not make ends meet.

"My dad played and his career was going very well but there was not enough money for him to support his wife, his children and his parents," Luiz said. "At 14 I moved from the family home to start my football career. I was 36 hours from home. I told them I would come back home when I could offer the life they deserved. Thanks to God I have managed to do that."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones