Ancelotti fumes after Blues fail to show desire
Carlo Ancelotti has accused his Chelsea players of lacking the "desire to win" and declared that they have to beat Everton today in a match which he has deemed the club's most important of the season.
The Chelsea boss added that it was important that, after today's clash, the players "are able to look themselves in the mirror with a clear conscience," implying that had not been the case recently.
Three defeats and a draw in five league games constitutes a crisis at Stamford Bridge. "Everything was wrong," Ancelotti said -- with that air of gloom compounded by the abrupt sacking of assistant manager Ray Wilkins and the confirmation that the club's sporting director, Frank Arnesen, will leave at the end of this season.
Ancelotti, whose own long-term future remains in doubt, confirmed that Michael Essien and John Terry will return today, with the manager also revealing that the latter will have to change the way he trains for the rest of his career to nurse his damaged back.
He explained that the muscle which had been causing Terry sciatica had been released and he was now pain-free, although he will have to continue to use an individually-tailored exercise regime.
Even though Terry is not completely fit, Ancelotti said his return was crucial. "He brings other things: he can speak across the defensive line, can instruct and lead the team with his personality. It's not important for him to be completely 100pc," he said.
The importance of Terry's return, however, is even greater because of the failure of other players to step up to the mark. Ancelotti admitted that he has also been selecting Didier Drogba, who is not fully fit after contracting malaria, because of his "character."
"You can have desire at 99pc, but it's not enough," Ancelotti said of his team. "At this particular moment of our season, you have to have the desire to move on 100pc. Our desire at Newcastle (last weekend) was not at 100pc. Terry could make the difference."
So, could Essien, although Ancelotti revealed that he had spoken to the midfielder about his reckless sending-off against Fulham, which led to a costly three-match suspension. "Essien knows he made a mistake and I'm sure he won't repeat it," Ancelotti said."
The Italian is honest and direct in such moments of crisis, as Chelsea discovered last season after being knocked out of the Champions League. Ancelotti immediately set a target of winning a league and cup double and declared that anything short of that would represent failure.
Yesterday appeared to represent another line in the sand being drawn -- especially with a taxing set of games to come. "We have to play against three teams that think they can win the title -- Tottenham think that, Arsenal and Manchester United," he said of Chelsea's forthcoming fixtures. "For us, it's more important now that we improve our confidence, our atmosphere. Now is not a good moment. A victory tomorrow would resolve everything. We want to close this period."
Chelsea -- who are considering sending defender Jeffrey Bruma out on loan next month, depending on whether they buy reinforcements or Alex returns from injury in time -- hope to have Frank Lampard fit for the meeting with Spurs a week tomorrow. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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