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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape