Tough decisions ahead for Carlo
Published 07/01/2011 | 07:52
Carlo Ancelotti must decide whether he can risk resting players when Chelsea begin their defence of the FA Cup after being given yet another vote of confidence from the club's heirarchy.
Wednesday night's shock defeat at Wolves meant Ancelotti has now overseen the Blues' worst run of Barclays Premier League results for 15 years. But billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is continuing to resist any urge he might have to axe Ancelotti, with the club still confident the Italian is the right man to turn things around.
That might change should they suffer an FA Cup giant-killing on Sunday when Ipswich arrive at Stamford Bridge in the third round.
Ancelotti may be tempted to give some of his big names a break this weekend but it would be a huge risk under the circumstances.
Goalkeeper Ross Turnbull will be hoping his manager does gamble and hand him a rare appearance.
Turnbull, who turned 26 on Tuesday, has had to bide his time this season, his only two appearances coming in the Carling Cup and Champions League.
There had been talk he might play at Marseille in the middle of the club's current slump last month but Ancelotti stuck with the experience of Petr Cech.
Turnbull fears it may be the same on Sunday, telling his club's official website, www.chelseafc.com: "Some of the lads who don't play as much thought they might play the away Marseille game but I remember saying at the time that I thought the manager would put an experienced team out to get some momentum going, so he might do it again for Ipswich. He has to pick what he thinks is best for the club and I respect his decisions."
Ancelotti's hopes of keeping his job have been boosted by the fact that despite Chelsea's dramatic slump from top spot to fifth place following one win in nine, most of their rivals have been unable to pull clear.
The feeling at Stamford Bridge is that a top-four finish is very much within reach, with Tottenham just a point clear of Ancelotti's men.