Carlo Ancelotti again refuses to speak about future

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The Independent Online

Carlo Ancelotti refused to speculate on whether a sensational late comeback in the Barclays Premier League title race would see him avoid the sack after Chelsea closed to within six points of Manchester United.

The Blues beat Birmingham 3-1 last night to leapfrog ailing Arsenal into second place and give themselves a glimmer of hope of retaining their crown.

Manager Ancelotti believes his side need to win their remaining five matches, which include a trip to Old Trafford, and hope United lose one more game to snatch the title.

The Italian appeared all but resigned to losing his job after Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League last week but retaining the championship would surely make owner Roman Abramovich think twice about giving him the boot.

Asked if he felt his job would be secure if he masterminded such a comeback, Ancelotti said: "Questions with 'if' are not good.

"At the end of the season, we will have a big press conference - a strong and tough press conference."

He added: "In football, I learned that everything can happen in the game right up to the final whistle.

"You can win the title in the last minute, and you can lose the title in the last minute.

"If we thought that one month ago we'd have a little chance to come back to fight for the title, I think that everyone could have said we were crazy.

"We await to see what happens in the next five games."

Ancelotti was rewarded last night for sticking with his in-form front three as Fernando Torres failed to earn a recall.

Florent Malouda scored twice and Salomon Kalou once, while Didier Drogba also ran Birmingham ragged.

Admitting Drogba was back to his best after malaria laid him low towards the end of last year, Ancelotti added: "I think that now he's fit and he's showing fantastic quality.

"In one season, problems like Didier had can happen.

"Now we have to be happy to see him playing fantastic football, but forget the past."

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish refused to rule Chelsea out of the title race.

"Anything could happen," he said.

"You just never know the way this league has gone this season. Teams are winning games that you don't expect.

"There could be further twists, though United are in a hell of a good position."

McLeish was more concerned with his own side's five-point cushion over the drop zone.

He added: "I would say we need another win. We'll try and get as many points in the last five games as we can."



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