Ancelotti gives team ultimatum

Chelsea manager says players who lost to City will be given 'last chance' today

Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, is to give the players who blew it at Manchester City a week ago a "last chance" to redeem themselves against Everton this afternoon.

The Premier League leaders were caught off guard at City last weekend, falling to a 2-1 defeat that cut their advantage at the top of the table to two points. Ancelotti is sticking with virtually the same team today, but in turn he has demanded more from them. He made it plain yesterday that changes will follow if he does not see a marked improvement in the intensity and pace of Chelsea's play when David Moyes' side visit Stamford Bridge.

Certain players who have been key performers in the past are now under pressure. Goalkeeper Petr Cech was at fault for City's winner from Carlos Tevez, Ricardo Carvalho in defence was below par, and the whole midfield were way below their best. Michael Essien, who is out for four weeks with a hamstring tear, and Deco, whose father is ill, will be missing today but the rest of the side that lost at City will be retained. Ancelotti said: "I want to give a chance to the players that lost against Manchester City."

"Second chance or last chance?" he was asked. "Last," he replied. Ancelotti said it with a smile and a chuckle, but the hint of menace remained. Possible replacements such as Alex and Salomon Kalou, who have both been out injured, will be ready to return in time for the visit of Portsmouth on Wednesday. Others such as Florent Malouda and Gaël Kakuta have been in excellent form when selected.

Ancelotti has made it abundantly clear to the Chelsea players in the past two days what he expects of them. The defeat at City was sandwiched between a Carling Cup defeat on penalties to Blackburn and a disappointing 2-2 draw at home with Champions League lightweights Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday night. Three games without a win and seven goals conceded, on the back of a relentless run of form that had been capped off with a brutal 3-0 victory at Arsenal.

Ancelotti spoke of his confidence in his side's ability to respond positively. He admitted they had been guilty of complacency against Nicosia in midweek and boldly predicted the players would make amends this afternoon.

"The situation is totally under control. You will see tomorrow that it is," he said. "I don't need to see anything. I know very well this team and have lot of confidence in them. They can lose a game, can make mistakes, but they have to show intensity for 90 minutes. This is our aim. Every three days we had important matches and it can happen that in the games against Apoel and Blackburn we lost some concentration. This is normal."

Nicolas Anelka, who has not scored a league goal since October, said Ancelotti has asked for a return of the form that saw Chelsea win five Premier League matches in a row without conceding a single goal.

Anelka said: "This week he said we have to put more intensity in, to come back to the way we were playing just before, to play our game and play with identity and enjoy our football."

Sir Alex Ferguson has said he would be happy to come out of Christmas two points behind Chelsea, but Ancelotti refused to be drawn into any psychological duels with the Manchester United manager. Instead he said he expects Chelsea to win these two home games with Everton and Portsmouth which would in turn put the pressure on the chasing pack.

"We need to return to play well, to do what is necessary in our job, to be strong and work hard and play well, with intensity. It's all in our hands," Ancelotti added.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice