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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea