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LEO'S LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti can be the new Special One

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14 Apr 2010 11:16:13

LEO'S LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti can be the new Special One

It is fair to say that Carlo Ancelotti's welcome to English football has been lukewarm.There have been few brickbats and even fewer plaudits for the Italian's calm approach in his first season. But if the manager guides Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup Double, they will have a new type of Special One. Instead of the man who coined the term at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho, who  could easily have been known as The Agitator, Ancelotti is The Facilitator. The Facilitator: Carlo Ancelotti is on course to record the league and cup double The Italian knows how to manage strong  personalities without having to dominate them and maybe that is what Chelsea need as they seek a more conservative spending regime. That Chelsea's recent resurgence followed an angry visit from Roman Abramovich  and clear-the-air talks between playing and coaching staff shows there is room for everyone to have  their say and the team to prosper. And that has certainly not always been the case. There are hints of Avram Grant's political approach here too but Ancelotti's experience gives him a level of respect which provides more order. If Chelsea do the Double he will have scored higher than Mourinho in his first term, when he had to make do with the Carling Cup to go with the League title. The novelty factor may be missing, the excitement of an overhauled squad and a  charismatic string-puller too, but it would be special nonetheless.  Theorists should stay silent on referees...To all those conspiracy theorists out there: shhhhh, bite your tongue. Some key decisions going the way of the big clubs over the last few weeks is not proof that referees have plotted to maintain the status quo. Ref rage: Bolton boss Owen Coyle was incensed at Stamford Bridge last night Bolton, Wolves and Stoke would love you to think that it is. Even Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill wants you to 'make up your own mind'.   More from Leo Spall... LEO'S LONDON: Arsene Wenger has to be applauded - despite Arsenal's battering in Barcelona07/04/10 LEO'S LONDON: Chelsea will look to Florent Malouda to put Manchester United in their place at Old Trafford31/03/10 LEO'S LONDON: Arsenal's central defensive OAPs not good enough24/03/10 LEO'S LONDON: Forward thinking Harry set to change his game at Spurs17/03/10 LEO'S LONDON: John Terry must not follow Frank Lampard's path if he is to rise above the hate mob10/03/10 LEO'S LONDON: If Joe Cole is to burn bright again, the only way forward is through the Chelsea exit03/03/10 LEO'S LONDON: It's hard to show sympathy for sensitive Woodgate24/02/10 LEO'S LONDON: Mourinho is having a laugh over his latest Chelsea claims17/02/10 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE Sure, Chelsea have been a little lucky in the decisions that have gone their way in the last couple of matches against Villa and Bolton, but that isn't proof of officials' dishonesty.  Neither is Arsenal players crowding around a referee to help get Wolves' Karl Henry sent off recently. When referees get  big decisions wrong in games between teams below the Champions League places in the Premier League, such as Manuel Da Costa's blatant penalty area foul on Louis Saha when West Ham drew at Everton 10 days ago, what influences them then? Mistakes happen because referees are human. Wayne Rooney misses the target  and sometimes Cesc Fabregas puts passes astray too. Maybe officials can be influenced when taking charge of games at Old Trafford  or Stamford Bridge but there must be other things which affect their sub-conscious too. The point is, it is neither deliberate nor pre-conceived.  Forget Zamora. Schwarzer is Fulham's No 1Bobby Zamora may be hogging the limelight at Fulham this season, but what about Mark Schwarzer? The goalkeeper has among the best statistics in the Premier League for clean sheets and proportion of shots saved. Star men: In-form striker Zamora has been brilliant but so has Schwarzer (R) He has produced an incredible 19 shutouts this season in all competitions and  should be sharing the credit with the in-form striker Zamora. His experience as a former UEFA Cup finalist with Middlesbrough is coming in handy for Roy Hodgson's team too.  Ugly win counts against ZolaWhatever anyone says about Gianfranco Zola, he can't be accused of inflexible thinking. Before West Ham broke their losing run with a draw at Everton just over a week ago, the manager who has always demanded attractive football nailed his colours to the mast. Style clash: Zola's West Ham grinded out an ugly win 'I won't change my philosophy,' he said. 'I won't change my mind. It's the only reason I'm in football.' After beating Sunderland last weekend and being accused of going route one by Steve Bruce, the Italian's colours had started to run. Zola said: 'The team has found a new way. We are just getting the best out of  that. 'We changed the way from last year a little bit. Last year we found a way of playing nice football and getting results. 'This year, we are working more as a team, more defensively. We are getting the points.' If it saves West Ham from relegation, everyone at Upton Park should be happy. Apart from Zola. As a new manager, the style of football he demanded was one of the few things we knew he stood for. He didn't have to be wedded to it and no-one would have thought less of him if he had changed his mind when West Ham hit trouble. But after taking such a strong stance on sticking to his principles it is hard not to think a little less of him.  Don't applaud opportunist WarnockCrystal Palace's fans are either extremely magnanimous or they have been duped. Neil Warnock expected to torrent of abuse when he went back to Selhurst Park with QPR last  weekend and got applause instead. If supporters were simply grateful for what he did for Palace while he was manager they should be congratulated for their generous response. Round of applause: QPR boss Warnock was roundly appreciated by Palace fans But if they were paying him respect because they bought the rubbish about him being effectively forced out by Palace going into administration, the gratitude was misplaced. Warnock's move from Palace to QPR was nothing more than opportunism and it  shouldn't be applauded.  Explore more:People:Gianfranco Zola, Neil Warnock, Karl Henry, Steve Bruce, Wayne Rooney, ROY HODGSON, Roman Abramovich, Bobby Zamora, Owen Coyle, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti


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