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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own