| 5.1°C Dublin

Ancelotti counts himself 'a lucky man' to be still in job after poor run of results

Carlo Ancelotti has described himself as "a lucky man" to have kept his job at Chelsea after presiding over the club's worst sequence of results since 1999.

Having started the season by taking 25 points from 10 games, Chelsea have amassed just 10 in their past 10 matches to fall to fifth in the Premier League and out of the automatic Champions League qualifying positions. Previous Chelsea managers have been dismissed by owner Roman Abramovich in similar circumstances, but Ancelotti did win the club's first Premier League and FA Cup double last year and expects to be assessed at the end of the season.

"I think I am safe -- I am a lucky man," he said. "I understand that a lot of coaches are sacked with these results. I am not happy, I have to do better but I think we have the skills and ability to come back."

Asked if it would be fair for him to lose his job if Chelsea did not finish in the top four, Ancelotti said: "It's difficult to say now. When you go to a restaurant, you have to pay the bill when you finish eating. It's the same here. We have to pay the bill at the end of the season. Then, the club can judge my job and everything."

Ancelotti also defended his squad against the accusation that they are too old -- and is certain that they will beat Wolves tonight.

"If you have to judge the players now, you can say that they are old, they have lost motivation and they are not good players," he said. "But you have to wait, calm down and be able to think that these are fantastic players, as I am sure they are. Nothing has changed in two or three months.

"I am not concerned because I have trust in the players. We have the skills and ability to stay in the top four without problem. The season is very long. The teams that are doing well now could have a difficult moment in one month. We will win (against Wolves). I'm confident.

"We are moving from this difficult moment. I think if everything is okay we're able to come back for the title without new players. We have to think we can win the title again, but the most important thing is to stay in the places to be in the Champions League."

Despite saying Chelsea did not need to makes any signings, Ancelotti is nonetheless searching for reinforcements in central defence as he awaits further information on the knee injury to Alex. Chelsea are interested in England centre-back Gary Cahill, but are unlikely to meet Bolton's valuation of at least £20m.

Ancelotti said that transfer targets would be decided by a committee of people and denied that money was an issue.

"Cahill is a good player but there are a lot of good players in England and Europe," he said. "We are looking at a lot of players to find the right solutions but it is difficult for me to speak about it. If we speak, the price goes up."

He said it was important to strengthen, "because we had problems in the last two months with injuries. Everyone in the club knows what was the problem and we have to improve there.

"I'm totally involved, 100pc, in this issue. If we want to make an investment, it will not be just for this year. Chelsea doesn't look to the price. If the player is good and we think the player is good for this team, we don't have a problem. We are not desperate."

The situation with injuries will now be critical, particularly as Ancelotti is reluctant to place too much responsibility on the club's younger players now.

"When everything is okay you can use these players," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent