Carlo Ancelotti safe at Chelsea, but for how long?
Roman Abramovich has assured Carlo Ancelotti that his job is safe for now in the wake of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday that has left them with 10 points from the last 11 games and that Ancelotti will have the funds to bid for Benfica defender David Luiz this month.
The possibility of failing to qualify for the Champions League now hangs over Chelsea after the 1-0 defeat to Wolves, which was their sixth of the season and leaves them in fifth place and nine points adrift of leaders Manchester United who have played one fewer game.
Yet as of last night, senior figures at the club were confident that Abramovich and his close aide and club director Eugene Tenenbaum were not preparing to make the same kind of swift decisions that brought to an end the employment of Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Contrary to Ancelotti's remarks in the aftermath of defeat at Molineux, the club do not believe that they are completely out of the title race.
The Russian owner recognises that Ancelotti needs some help in shoring up his team that is still without injured first-choice centre-back Alex who, as of yesterday, had still not returned from Brazil following surgery on a knee problem.
Luiz is the long-term target that the club have been pursuing, although the £17m valuation placed on him by Benfica is still regarded as excessive.
The willingness to back Ancelotti in the transfer market has reassured those within the club that Ancelotti has the Russian's backing confidence it is possible that the Luiz deal will yet be abandoned if it is pushed beyond Chelsea's valuation.
There has been some consideration given to the loan signing of David Beckham.
However, the 35-year-old, who played under Ancelotti at Milan is not regarded as a viable option at the moment and there is little likelihood of a deal going ahead.
Certainly the feeling among the players is that they back Ancelotti which was markedly different to this time two years ago when Scolari's regime began to falter, culminating in his abrupt sacking in February 2009.
Ancelotti said: “The players are focused. They are staying together. There are no problems [in the squad] — they have a good spirit.
“There are a lot of reasons that can explain this moment, but that doesn't matter.
“Now we have to look forward, to the next game. We have to prepare well and we have above all to maintain confidence at this moment.
“It's very easy now to lose confidence. I think that on the training ground everything is okay. They are angry and they want to move on quickly from this moment.
“I think that to move on quickly from this moment we have stay compact together.
“Not just the players, not just the manager, not just the staff — also all the people that are involved with this club, with emotion, with passion, can do something to move on quickly from this moment.”