Chelsea stalwarts call for Carlo to stay
Published 13/04/2011 | 13:38
Roman Abramovich was today urged not to sack Carlo Ancelotti as Chelsea manager, despite the club being on the brink of their worst season since the Russian's takeover.
The Blues crashed out of the Champions League against Manchester United last night, leaving them staring at only their third trophyless campaign of the eight-year Abramovich era.
The billionaire businessman wasted little time jettisoning the manager on both previous occasions.
But failing to keep hold of Ancelotti would be a mistake, according to former Stamford Bridge players.
Ex-Chelsea captain Paul Elliott told Press Association Sport: "Okay, he's picked up nothing this year, but they need to back their man.
"I think he's the best manager long-term.
"He's got the ability to manage the egos, he can manage multi-million pound players."
Elliott believes Abramovich's patience will ultimately hold.
He added: "I'll tell you the reason I don't fear: I love the way Ancelotti handles the pressure.
"I think he's got tremendous confidence and, be assured, if he left Chelsea, he's only going on to better things."
There have been suggestions Ancelotti might jump before he is pushed but Blues legend Gianfranco Zola told talkSPORT: "He has always been a fighter.
"I'm sure he will be thinking how he can come back stronger.
"I'm sure that Ancelotti will know exactly what to do and stick to it."
Ancelotti admitted he may have blundered by starting with £50million flop Fernando Torres in last night's quarter-final second leg defeat at Old Trafford.
Elliott said: "If you're Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and you're looking at Didier Drogba at the moment and you're looking at Torres, the question is, who would you prefer to be playing against?
"The fact of the matter is, when the substitution was made, Drogba's impact was instant."
Chelsea's all-time appearance record Ron Harris added: "You ask any pair of central defenders in the country, 'Who wouldn't you like to play against?'
"I would say 95pc of them would turn around and say, 'Didier Drogba'."
Ancelotti has denied being told by Abramovich to play Torres, but there have been suggestions of the Italian being put under pressure indirectly by virtue of the Spaniard's transfer fee.
Elliott added: "I do believe Ancelotti's a bigger man than that.
"Abramovich is an investor and, at the end of the day, that is what you have your manager for.
"I honestly believe that Ancelotti did what he thought was right for the team."
All three agreed Torres would eventually come good but there was a split over whether Chelsea's ageing squad now needed to be overhauled.
Elliott said: "It's a very mature squad, like AC Milan's a few years ago.
"They're still very good players but I think that has to be reviewed."
Harris said: "My old manager used to say to me, 'You don't reach your peak until you're 30'.
"I know there are one or two lads who are over that but I still think that they're top-class players."
Zola said: "These players have been for 10 years winners.
"Having said that, some choices will have to made this summer because obviously the club has to go on."