Carlo Ancelotti on the brink of Chelsea sack

Carlo Ancelotti flies to Copenhagen this morning with his Chelsea squad in the knowledge that defeat in Denmark could convince the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, to change his manager before the end of the season.

The Chelsea hierarchy had intended to keep the Italian coach in place until the end of the season, but after Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round elimination by Everton there is concern at whether Ancelotti (below) is capable of bringing his team out of their slump. They will not be encouraged by the Chelsea manager's disclosure that he believes only two of his squad – John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic – are playing at their best.

Chelsea take on FC Copenhagen tomorrow in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie with their season disintegrating. Out of the FA Cup and 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, they are currently outside the top four qualifying places for next season's Champions League. Winning the competition is their only viable chance of a trophy this season.

There are doubts as to whether Mark Hughes, the Fulham manager whose name has been linked with the Chelsea job over the weekend, is really a leading candidate in Abramovich's mind. However, Hughes is one of many contingency plans if the club feel that Ancelotti has to go before the summer.

Guus Hiddink, who came to Chelsea's rescue two years ago when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked, is tied into his contract at the Turkish Football Federation as manager of their national team. There are few options for Abramovich to make a change, although he has not run shy of difficult decisions in the past. After losing on penalties on Saturday, Ancelotti was asked whether any player other than Petr Cech was at his best. "At this moment? Ivanovic, who is playing consistently and Terry. A couple are not at this moment playing with 100 per cent fitness."

Asked whether he had considered quitting, Ancelotti said: "'No. I am not here to consider my position, it is the owner that has to consider my position. I just have to work, to try my best." He added: "The performance was good, we worked hard for 90 minutes, we didn't play so well, it was not fantastic football. We created maybe 10 chances though only scored one goal. But the team was balanced on the pitch, the team was compact.

'To win the Champions League will not be easy, but Champions League brings great motivation for every one of us. We didn't do well in the Premier League, we are out of the FA Cup."

Chelsea will play Manchester United in the Premier League a week on Wednesday. Four days after the United game they face Liverpool at Anfield.

The priority now must be closing the gap on Spurs in fourth place to ensure that the club are at least in contention for a competition they have qualified for since 2003.





PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
News
i100
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

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style