Ancelotti refuses to let Emenalo near first team

Roman Abramovich certainly pays his managers handsomely, and Carlo Ancelotti is no exception with an annual salary estimated to be £6.5m. However, that does not mean the job is always a comfortable existence, as Ancelotti has found in the past 10 days.

Ancelotti had no say when his assistant manager Ray Wilkins was sacked last week, and it was not his decision to appoint the former Nigerian international Michael Emenalo as his replacement, as the Italian made abundantly clear yesterday. All this, and Chelsea lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland.

Ancelotti might be the manager but it is Abramovich who has decided to promote opposition scout Emenalo, a man who has worked his way through the club's corridors of power since he arrived in October 2007 as one of Avram Grant's trusted advisors.

And it was also Abramovich's decision to dispense with players like Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Ricardo Carvalho last summer and leave Ancelotti with just 19 players over the age of 21, making it the smallest squad in the Premier League.

Ancelotti distanced himself from the appointment and stated that Emenalo, 45, would not be working with the first-team squad. The Chelsea manager said: "The club made this decision after the decision on Ray. It was not my decision. I'm not here to explain how I feel at this moment. I'm professional. I will continue to work. I want to stay focused on my team. Emenalo was a fantastic support last season for the opposition scouting. He was involved in our meetings and will be again in the future. He won't be involved in the training sessions."

Abramovich's move to sack Wilkins and appoint Emenalo carries echoes of his decision to introduce Grant to Chelsea's coaching staff three years ago, a move that contributed to the breakdown in the relationship between the owner and the then manager Jose Mourinho, which came to a head with the Portuguese's departure in September 2007.

No one is saying that Emenalo's appointment will presage a similar chain of events now. However it begs the question why Abramovich has seen fit to meddle once again, in a way that would appear to undermine the manager who won the Double last season in his first year in charge.

For the moment at least, Emenalo will remain in his role as head opposition scout. "It's not a new job, it's the same job he did in the past," Ancelotti contended. The Italian chuckled when it was pointed out to him yesterday that Emenalo's report on Sunderland could not have been much good, as Chelsea lost 3-0 to Steve Bruce's side at Stamford Bridge.

Ancelotti's pressing concern is to win today at Birmingham City, to dispel the fears that the champions are on the wane with serious injuries to Frank Lampard and John Terry.

Ancelotti said: "I'm happy for our rivals to think we're at a weak moment. It will give us more motivation to do better. This is an important moment for us. We don't want to put our heads in the sand because it's an important game. We can move on from the defeat or we can stay in a difficult moment. It depends upon us."

At least the Italian will be able to recall centre-half Alex to the side, to strengthen a back four that last weekend consisted of four full-backs. The Brazilian needs an operation on his knee which will rule him out for eight weeks, but he has been told he must play on, for the moment at least.

Alex said: "I need surgery, and maybe after the game I will go to Brazil and do the operation on Thursday. We have too many players injured, so I said to the coach I can play. I am not 100 per cent fit but I can play."

Ancelotti is optimistic Terry may be ready to play Newcastle United next weekend, after consulting 63-year-old Belgian chiropractor Jean-Pierre Meersseman, the brains behind the renowned Milan Lab, about the trapped nerve in his thigh. Ancelotti said: "There was good news from the visit in Italy – that it's a tight muscle, which we have to relax, so the nerve can move without a problem... It's not true that he'll be out for a month."

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