Carlo Ancelotti says Chelsea team spirit remains
Under-fire Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti insists the woeful recent form which has all but eliminated his side from title contention has not broken the spirit of the squad.
The Blues slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Wolves last night to make it one win from their last nine Barclays Premier League games - their worst run since the 1995/96 season.
A miserable haul of 10 points from their last 11 outings has dropped Ancelotti's side nine points behind leaders Manchester United, having played a game more, and they face a fight to secure even a top-four place.
That run of results has called Ancelotti's position into question.
He insisted after the match he did not fear the sack from owner Roman Abramovich, but anything other than a win at home to Ipswich in the FA Cup third round on Sunday could make the pressure on him almost unbearable.
The former AC Milan boss, though, has urged his players not to lose confidence.
"The players are focused. They are working hard. They are staying together," he said.
"There are no problems (in the squad) - they have a good spirit.
"There are a lot of reasons that can explain this moment, but that doesn't matter.
"Now we have to look forward, to the next game. We have to prepare well and we have above all to maintain confidence at this moment.
"It's very easy now to lose confidence."
He added in an interview with Chelsea TV: "I think that on the training ground everything is okay. The players are working hard. They are angry and they want to move on quickly from this moment.
"I think that to move on quickly from this moment we have stay compact together. Not just the players, not just the manager, not just the staff - also all the people that are involved with this club with emotion with passion can do something to move on quickly from this moment."
The strength in depth of the Blues' squad has been called into question, most notably last month by their own captain John Terry.
Ancelotti revealed there were "some opportunities" for him to bring in reinforcements in the transfer window, but was reluctant to elaborate further.
"Looking for the transfer market there are some opportunities we can do something," he said. "But I think it's private and confidential.
"The line-up (against Wolves) was very good. At this moment we have to stay focused on the details."
Wolves' victory, which lifted them out of the drop zone, meant they had beaten Liverpool and Chelsea in the space of a week.
They have, however, lost to relegation candidates West Ham and Wigan in their other two games since Christmas, but manager Mick McCarthy was philosophical about the fact his side need to keep digging themselves out of trouble.
"If you're going to be good at something, be good at digging," he said.
"We're probably only going to have 10 really good days in a season. Out of 38 we're going to have, what, 10 wins? And the rest of the time we're going to have to put up with feeling rubbish on a Saturday or a Wednesday night.
"That's the way it is - that's because we're one of those teams and there's a load of others that are just the same.
"We go to Manchester City next so that should be a piece of cake, shouldn't it?"
Wolves look set for a further boost with the news they are in discussions with Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell over a move to Molineux.
The 28-year-old had been on the verge of a switch to West Ham, but that move now appears to have fallen through. Wolves had already agreed a fee with Villa.
Striker Kevin Doyle hopes the deal goes through.
"Steve would be an excellent signing if it happens," he said on the club's official website.
"I played with him at Reading for a number of years when we had some great success and he's also played for top clubs like Chelsea and Villa.
"If he does sign I'm sure he'll be raring to go.
"I have spoken to him this morning and we'll just have to see what happens but it would be a big boost if it goes through."
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