Angry Ancelotti hits out at 'scared' players as Chelsea flop again

Chelsea 1 Everton 1

As Everton have drawn their last five matches at Stamford Bridge it seems premature to suggest this one indicates a crisis is brewing at Chelsea, but context is everything. With five points from 18, winless in four league matches, the champions are enduring their worst run of results for a decade. Insiders and outsiders are still bemused by the axing of Ray Wilkins and the team, their own manager admits, is "scared" and playing "poor football".

Like the Australian cricketers, the aura has gone. Everton, 16th before kick-off and coming off a 4-1 home drubbing by West Brom, were hardly replete with confidence themselves but the way they pushed forward in search of a winner in the closing minutes showed that avoiding defeat at the champions is no longer the summit of opponents' ambition. As Phil Neville said: "The only disappointment is that we didn't win."

Carlo Ancelotti usually defends his players, but he has clearly decided on a different approach to shake them out of timidity. Having been critical before a game he called the "most important of the season", he gave them both barrels afterwards. The Italian emerged from a long post-match inquest to say he was "angry" and "very disappointed". His team "played only long ball", were "afraid", "unable to play our football", "lacked desire in the second half" and "have to wake up".

Ancelotti added that although he was not sleeping well and not relaxed, he did not feel under pressure for his job. In a sane world he should not. He is a proven manager, injuries have hit the team, and firing him would only make the club more unstable. However, as Wilkins can testify, normal rules do not apply at Chelsea. The last time their results were so poor, Ken Bates fired Gianluca Vialli. Roman Abramovich has since been even less patient. The Russian was not present on Saturday ("cooking fondue for the Blatters in his dacha", suggested one tweeter) but may be back for a demanding trio of forthcoming matches: Tottenham (a), Manchester United (h), Arsenal (a).

Ancelotti added that the players needed to stick together and not seek a scapegoat. His team had began nervously but improved, John Terry hitting the bar before Drogba put them ahead from the spot. That was down to a knee-jerk decision from Lee Probert, after Nicolas Anelka leapt into a stationary Tim Howard. "Anelka's mullered me," said Howard, "and I thought the [yellow] card must be for him. When he booked me I was dumbfounded, but nine times out of 10 when the referee sees that kind of collision, he thinks that the goalkeeper has gone for the player."

Probert also missed a penalty when Seamus Coleman cleaned out Ashley Cole as he was about to put Chelsea two-up. He was right, though, not to over-react when Tim Cahill caught Petr Cech as the Australian attempted to stretch past Terry to reach a cross. As Moyes pointed out, the fact Cech has been hurt in the past does not make it an offence. Probert also handled well a clash between Florent Malouda and Phil Neville. The latter drew credit for getting up and running away after it appeared that Malouda had delivered a retaliatory slap following a heavy tackle. Yet replays suggested Neville had initially over-reacted, nursing his face where there had been no contact, before quickly repenting.

After Jack Rodwell hit the post Jermaine Beckford levelled, and might have laid on a winner if he had better awareness. Beckford was the main man at Leeds and, admits Moyes, still needs to learn about team-play: "Drogba would have played someone in and they'd have won the game. That's the difference in quality. If you get those moments and don't make the right decision it kills you." It will come, Moyes has to polish such uncut diamonds, but players like Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines shows he can. It may not look it from the league table, but Everton's faith in Moyes shows the value of stability. Ancelotti, and, surely, most Chelsea fans, will hope that the club''s capricious owner recognises the principle applies to rich clubs as well.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
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

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz