Carlo Ancelotti admitted yesterday he is lucky to still be in a job after overseeing Chelsea's worst run of form for a decade.
The Italian's future as Chelsea manager remains in doubt as long as the champions' form is that of a relegation-threatened club rather than one fighting to defend their Premier League crown.
Chelsea's record of 10 points from their last 10 games demonstrates the extent of the team's collective breakdown over the past two months. In the past the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, has sacked managers for far less.
Ancelotti was asked if he thought such a record might have earned him the sack in his native Italy and he replied, with a rueful laugh: “It depends. I think I am safe. I am a lucky man. I don't know. I understand that a lot of coaches are sacked with these results. I can say I am a lucky man.”
He cannot rely on luck too much longer.
While Abramovich was preoccupied spending £5m on having stars such as the Black Eyed Peas perform at a lavish New Year's Eve party at his Caribbean estate in St Bart's, Chelsea were stuttering to a narrow victory over Bolton Wanderers before conceding a late equaliser to Aston Villa in Sunday's 3-3 draw that leaves them fifth in the table.
Abramovich has agreed that the squad needs strengthening during the winter transfer window, with a centre-half and a striker a priority. However the manager needs to prove he has the ability to turn results around quickly.
Ancelotti believes the time to judge him is at the end of the season and he characteristically used a food analogy to make his point.
“When you go to a restaurant, you have to pay the bill when finish your meal,” he said.
“It's the same here. We have to pay the bill at the end of the season. At the end the club can judge my job and everything.”
Ancelotti predicted confidently his side will win tonight's game at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“We will not lose. We will win. I'm confident. We are improving and the team is very close to moving on from this difficult moment,” he said.
With the club currently in fifth place, there remains a fear that Chelsea could miss out on next season's Champions League, but Ancelotti confidently claimed it would not be the case.